FOX 32 News Chicago Report via CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -
James Triplett had his customers lined up around
the corner in broad daylight, the feds say. Not for concert tickets. Not
for iPhones. For heroin.
Now 42 people are facing state or
federal drug charges for their alleged roles in supplying and
distributing heroin around West Grenshaw and Independence in the North
Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side, the Chicago ValleyTV is
Among them is the 33-year-old Triplett, also known as “Trell,” who authorities said controlled the drug market in the area.
even included a photo in a federal criminal complaint spanning more
than 200 pages. They said the photo depicts a line of people waiting on
June 16 to get their hands on heroin supplied by Triplett's organization
in the 3700 block of West Grenshaw.
The photo was taken just south of the Eisenhower Expressway, which has come to be known as “Heroin Highway.”
feds said Triplett's suppliers sometimes put the heroin in bags with
logos that included green Playboy bunnies, Hershey kisses, basketballs,
Batman, black pandas or “purple ladies.”
"Early this morning, they woke me up," said North Lawndale resident Precious Archer.
said around 7 o'clock, four agents were knocking on her door near the
3700 block of West Grenshaw, which is ground zero of the alleged drug
"They had pictures of people, basically asking did we see this person," she said.
Authorities say the heroin was diluted to increase profits.
is one of those locations that we always talk about, a drive up
location on the West Side where people come in from the suburbs to buy
narcotics and return," Supt. Garry McCarthy said.
The DEA said the drug was obtained from Mexico. Its sale generated nearly a quarter of a million dollars every month.
multi-agency investigation...represents a significant hammer-blow to
the open-air drug markets operating in North Lawndale and Douglas Park,"
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Dennis Wichern, who
worked on the case, said: "Every day, one person in Chicago dies from a
Chicago police and Drug
Enforcement Administration agents assigned to the High Intensity Drug
Trafficking Area Task Force led the investigation. Sixteen people face
federal charges. They include Triplett, who is charged with drug
conspiracy and faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted.
Another 26 face state charges.
Authorities said they arrested 32
people in all Wednesday morning, confiscating 12 guns, $50,000 in cash,
nearly half a kilogram of heroin and more than a half a kilogram of
cocaine. They also searched several homes, three alleged stash houses
and seized two cars, including a 2014 Maserati GranTurismo.
federal defendants, all of who were in custody Wednesday, began
appearing in the afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez.