Chicago police tout seizure of 8 tons of marijuana

Jun 28, 2012, 7:54 PM

Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) – Authorities in Chicago on Thursday showed off eight tons of marijuana they found in a tractor-trailer, saying the drug seizure will help with efforts to combat gang violence in the nation’s third-largest city.

“The competition between narcotics dealers for these markets is keen and it results in violence,” said police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. “This is not the (violent) crime. This is the driver of the crime and when we make seizures like this, we can affect street level sales … and it impacts on crime in the city.”

Chicago has seen a dramatic increase in homicides this year _ up about 50 percent so far when compared with the same period last year _ and police blame much of the violence on the city’s gangs.

Jack Riley, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office, said the marijuana was grown in Mexico and shipped to Chicago for street gangs to sell. He said gangs would have been hungry for the marijuana, which has an estimated street value of $40 million. “That leads to violence,” he said before Thursday’s media briefing.

The announcement also came a day after the City Council passed an ordinance that allows police to write tickets instead of making arrests for procession of 15 grams or less of marijuana. The eight tons of marijuana is the equivalent of more than 7.2 million grams, prompting officers to ask each other jokingly just how many tickets so much marijuana was worth.

The jokes aside, McCarthy, who supported the ordinance, said such large seizures would go further in stemming violence than arresting people for small amounts of marijuana. He has said the ordinance will allow officers to stay on the street where they could fight crime rather than being involved in the time consuming arrest process for minor marijuana cases.

“Eliminating those markets, working on supply … is going to make the city safe,” he said.

One alderman who voted for the ordinance said a drug dealer resorts to violence to protect his criminal operations, “not the joint in his pocket.”

“This (amount of marijuana) is what they’re fighting for,” said Alderman Roderick Sawyer. “They’re fighting for money and power.”

Authorities say the seizure of so much marijuana shows how Chicago is increasingly becoming a player in the often-violent international drug trade.

“Chicago is rapidly becoming a hub for the (Mexican drug) cartels throughout the country,” said Riley, who said the drug dealers look at the city in the much the same way that trucking businesses and other kind of operations that distribute their products around the U.S.

“This is a perfect place to set up shop,” he said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on ...
Associated Press

President Joe Biden in State of Union attempts to reassure condition of nation

President Joe Biden called on Republicans in his State of the Union speech to work with him to “finish the job” of rebuilding the economy.
21 hours ago
President Biden gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress at the U.S....

Watch: President Joe Biden gives 2nd State of Union address

President Joe Biden gave his second State of the Union address in office to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on Tuesday night.
21 hours ago
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks at the Economic Club of Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 202...
Associated Press

Fed’s Powell: Strong hiring could force further rate hikes

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday that if the U.S. job market further strengthens in the coming months or inflation readings accelerate, the Fed might have to raise its benchmark interest rate higher than it now projects.
21 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting, Friday, Feb. 3, 202...
Associated Press

President Joe Biden aims to reassure nation in State of Union address

President Joe Biden's speech before a politically divided Congress comes as the nation struggles to make sense of confounding cross-currents at home and abroad.
21 hours ago
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)...
Associated Press

Lucky player in Washington wins $754.6M Powerball prize

Someone in Washington state overcame steep odds Monday night to win a $754.6 million Powerball jackpot.
21 hours ago
This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk and Southern freight train that derailed ...
Associated Press

Release of toxic chemicals from derailed tanker cars begins in Ohio

Crews began releasing toxic chemicals into the air from five derailed tanker cars that were in danger of exploding Monday.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Chicago police tout seizure of 8 tons of marijuana