Aurora nabs suspects in heroin, cocaine probe
Fourteen suspected drug dealers have been charged and five remain at large after a yearlong heroin and cocaine investigation by Aurora police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, authorities said Friday.
Aurora police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said the suspected drug dealers who were arrested Monday and Tuesday have plenty of past run-ins with the law for offenses such as weapons and drug crimes, aggravated batteries and mob action.
"We do know that based on the background of these people that were targeted, we're talking about people with very long criminal records, criminal backgrounds," Ferrelli said. "Just to be able to hold these people accountable, we're confident that it's going to positively affect the amount of violent crime in Aurora and the surrounding communities."
Police said two of those charged are facing federal felony penalties because of the locations at which they are accused of peddling illegal drugs or the amount of drugs they are accused of selling to undercover officers since last fall. Sixteen others face state-level felony charges of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, while one person has been charged with felony permitting unlawful use of a building for allowing drug sales to go on in her apartment while she was home.
Authorities called the investigation Operation Blue Flame. During it, they conducted 40 undercover drug buys, seizing 47 grams of heroin with a street value of $5,600 and 256 grams of cocaine with a street value of $25,600.
Ferrelli said police still are searching for five of the suspects, who were not where they were expected to be when 50 officers from Aurora and the ATF served warrants earlier this week. Still at large are the following five Aurora men:
• Eric D. Coachman, 45, of the 700 block of Concord Street. Police said he is wanted on federal felony charges of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.
The other four people, who have not yet been arrested, are wanted on state charges of the same offense. They are:
• Marcus J. Hill, 29, of the 100 block of LaSalle Street;
• Christopher M. Fenley, 40, of the 1100 block of Cumberland Avenue;
• Lawrence J. Rayford, 37, of the 100 block of North Calhoun Street;
• and Kelly C. Stephens, 42, of the 400 block of North Avenue.
Anyone who has information about the whereabouts of the suspects is asked to call Aurora police at (630) 256-5600 or to place an anonymous call to Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at (630) 892-1000 to potentially qualify for a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
All but one of the 14 people taken into custody this week are being at the Kane County Correctional Center in St. Charles. However, police said Karlid Lash, 54, of the 1300 block of Howell Place in Montgomery, is being held without bond at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago because he has been charged at the federal level with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.
Those being held in Kane County include Latasia A. Laurant, 42, of the 400 block of New Indian Trail Road in Aurora, who is charged with six counts of felony permitting unlawful use of a building, as well as the following 12 people, who are charged with various counts of felony unlawful delivery of a controlled substance:
• Tyree O. Pryor, 35, of the 700 block of South Route 31 in Oswego;
• Michael A. Turner, Sr., 42, of the 1000 block of Grand Boulevard in Aurora;
• Kenya Pittman, 43, of the 300 block of Old Indian Trail in Aurora;
• Jaquel K. Owens, 29, of the 100 block of North Kendall Street in Aurora;
• Shelly Vickers, 40, of the 600 block of Palace Street in Aurora;
• Stephen L. Simmons, 40, of the 100 block of South View Street in Aurora;
• Lafande C. Hicks, 48, of the 1200 block of Monomoy Street in Aurora;
• Darrius T. Darden, 24, of the 600 block of Four Seasons Boulevard in Aurora;
• Andrea S. Welter, 41, of the 500 block of Montgomery Road in Aurora;
• Andre T. Hill, 29, of the 300 block of Manor Place in Aurora;
• Michael James, 39, of the 800 block of East New York Street in Aurora;
• and Wendall C. Thompson, 48, of the 200 block of South Fourth Street in Aurora.
All the suspects being held in Kane County are scheduled to be in court next at 9 a.m. Nov. 19.