CHICAGO (STMW) – Chicago police announced Saturday the arrests of nearly 40 suspects and seizure of weapons, drugs and vehicles in anti-gang “take downs” conducted over the last week.

The Narcotics Division investigations targeted drug markets on the city’s South and West sides in the Wentworth, Chicago Lawn and Grand Central police districts, according to a press release from the Chicago Police Department.

The latest arrests of 39 suspects was part of the “second set of take downs” conducted in the last weeks and brought the total arrests from the investigations to nearly 90, the release said.

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Officers shut down a drug operation along 43rd Street between Michigan and Calumet avenues with estimated annual drug sales of more than $2.3 million, the release said. Police also recovered heroin, crack and marijuana.

“By continuing to dismantle drug markets and take offenders off of the streets, we are working toward a significant reduction in violence and an overall improvement in the quality of our communities,” Narcotics Division Commander James O’Grady, said in the release.

Gang violence led Narcotics Officers to an open-air drug market along 63rd Street between Rockwell Street and Western Avenues where police seized three weapons and two vehicles, and arrested 10 people suspected of selling crack and heroin, according to the release.

On the West Side, police focuses on an area bordered by North Avenue and Division Street to the north and south and Central and Austin avenues to the east and west where citizens had complained of gang activities and drug sales, the release said. Nine people allegedly responsible for the “street-level” sale of marijuana, heroin and cocaine were arrested there.

“The relationship between gangs, drugs, and violence is long-standing,” Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy said in the release. “Only a collaborative, comprehensive, and unrelenting approach will diminish it, as we are seeing in our strategies to target drug markets devastating communities affected by gang violence.”

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