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Raid targets Chicago gang members in tainted heroin trade

The Associated Press

CHICAGO- A law enforcement raid on a drug ring believed linked to tainted heroin that has blamed for hundreds of deaths led to the arrests Wednesday of suspected gang members and a police officer, authorities said.

The raid on a public housing complex was the result of a nearly yearlong investigation of the Mickey Cobras street gang, Chicago police Superintendent Phil Cline said.

Authorities said the gang was selling heroin laced with the prescription painkiller fentanyl, a potentially lethal combination blamed for at least 200 deaths in the eastern half of the country, at least 70 of them in the Chicago area.

Police had planned to execute 48 arrest warrants and 10 search warrants, Cline said. It wasn't immediately clear how many people were arrested Wednesday.

The U.S. attorney's office said it would discuss the investigation at an afternoon news conference. Calls seeking comment from the Drug Enforcement Administration were not immediately returned.

Many of the arrests took place at the Dearborn Homes housing complex, a Mickey Cobras stronghold a few miles south of the Loop where authorities believe fentanyl-laced heroin was being sold, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

A female Chicago police officer was among those arrested in connection with the raid, Bond said.

Fentanyl is a legally produced prescription painkiller that is 80 times stronger than morphine. Federal agents have said the type of fentanyl being mixed with heroin was most likely manufactured in illicit labs, Ogden said.

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