Updated: July 17, 2014 2:11AM
Seven men with ties to the Southland have been charged in connection with an operation that trafficked drugs and firearms between the Chicago area and Ohio, officials said.
The defendants distributed drugs — cocaine and heroin — from Chicago to customers in Marion, Ohio, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.
The drugs were obtained by trading firearms for narcotics or by selling firearms for money that was used to buy drugs, prosecutors allege. The defendants sometimes accepted firearms from their drug customers as payment.
At least 19 assorted firearms, many of which were stolen from gun owners in central Ohio, were seized during the investigation, according to the statement.
The alleged leader of the operation, 22-year-old Aubrey Burks, is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms for having six guns that were seized by police Jan. 30 from a Harvey home, according to the statement. He was arrested last week in Ohio and is being transferred to Chicago for prosecution.
Burks worked with five others to run the operation, according to prosecutors. Kierre Waterford, 24; Kevin Jackson, 23; Omar Burks, 24; Anthony Jackson, 20; and Daniel Murphy, 28; all of whom have ties to Harvey or Marion, are charged with conspiring to possess and distribute heroin and crack cocaine, and dealing firearms without a federal license, according to the statement.
Murphy and Anthony Jackson were arrested this week in Ohio, according to the statement. Waterford, Kevin Jackson, and Omar Burks all were in custody in Ohio.
Another Harvey man, 19-year-old Anthony Galvan, was charged with selling firearms without a federal license, according to the statement. He sold six firearms to an undercover police officer in a vehicle parked in front of his home in January and February, prosecutors said.
Galvan was arrested last week and is being held without bail.
Sun-Times Media Wire