Chicago police arrest 81 in overnight raids, mostly for drug and weapons offenses

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) --  The Chicago Police Department conducted a series of overnight raids from Thursday into Friday that resulted in 81 arrests, mostly for drug- and weapons-related offenses, Supt. Eddie Johnson said Friday.

The raids, focused on the city's South and West Side neighborhoods, were "focused on the underlying source of crime in these areas: the sale of narcotics," Johnson said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

 Of the 81 people arrested, Johnson said 61 are previously convicted felons, 49 are documented gang members, 19 have previously been arrested on gun charges, 14 are currently on parole, and 65 have been previously identified by police to be at a higher risk to be a victim or offender of gun violence.

"There are repeat gun offenders that one, don't care they're on parole, two, don't care about the fact they're already previously convicted felons," Johnson said.

Police are still looking for 40 people targeted in the raids, and said another raid in the coming weeks will have federal assistance.

 Twelve firearms were also seized by police during the raids, Johnson said.

Anthony Riccio, chief of organized crime, said, "One of the guns we took off the street ... is actually a machine gun capable of firing 40 to 50 rounds in just a matter of seconds."

Johnson added, "We are almost double in gun arrests than we were the same time last year -- that's a ridiculous number."

Drugs were also seized in the raids, which had been planned for about three weeks.

"Narcotics and narcotic sales is the thing that allows the buying of guns," Riccio said.

Johnson urged lawmakers at every level of government to help with stemming Chicago's seemingly out of control gun violence.

"CPD can do better, our judicial system can do better, our state legislators can do better. It takes all of us," he said. "If you're OK every day sitting by watching these people die and that's OK with you, then good luck on that. But if you care at all, you should be helping the city do something about this violence."

Johnson said stricter punishment for repeat gun offenders would stem the violence, because possible offenders would know the severity of the consequences and act as a deterrent from picking up a gun in the first place.

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