(STMW) — Seven men and one woman are facing federal drug charges in connection with an investigation that targeted heroin trafficking on the Near West Side.

The charges and the arrests of five of the defendants in the investigation dubbed Operation Heroin Hotline were announced Thursday by the Chicago FBI office, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago, and the Chicago Police Department.

The five defendants taken into custody were arrested without incident Thursday morning at various locations in the Chicago area by members of the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force and CPD officers, a release from the FBI’s Chicago office said. One defendant was already in state custody on unrelated charges. Two defendants were not located today and remain at large.

According to court documents previously filed in connection with the case, the defendants allegedly worked together to provide customers with heroin, usually in capsule form, in exchange for cash. The transactions involved customers calling a specific telephone number to place an order for heroin, the release said. The customers were then directed to a series of locations in subsequent calls placed to the same telephone number until ultimately meeting face-to-face with a person who would then provide them with heroin.

The defendants charged by indictment are:

Pierre Henderson, 36, of the 1200 block of South Washtenaw; his brother Eric Henderson, 34, of the 6400 block of 19th Street in Berwyn; Allen McBeath, 32, of the 1300 block of North Lockwood; Anthony Brown, 27, of the 100 block of North Independence in Rockford; Shrondra McDaniel, 30, of the 6400 block of 19th Street; Jimmie Sessons, 28, of the 1400 block of South Karlov; and Harvey Davis, 25, of the 800 block of North Tripp. Howard Walker, 27, of the 8400 block of South Marshfield, was charged by complaint.

Anthony Brown and Jimmie Sessons avoided capture today and are now the subject of a nationwide manhunt, according to the FBI. One other defendant, Davis, was already in custody on unrelated state charges.

Operation Heroin Hotline, begun in 2009, is an ongoing and coordinated effort by local, state and federal authorities to identify and dismantle the many highly organized drug trafficking organizations operating in and around the Chicago metropolitan area. The Chicago FBI’s Safe Streets Gangs Joint Task Force is comprised of FBI Special Agents and officers from the Chicago Police Department.

The Hendersons, McBeath and McDaniel appeared Thursday before US Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert. McDaniel was released on bond, while the others were ordered held pending their next court appearances, which are scheduled to take place next week. Walker was expected to appear at 3 p.m. today before US Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox.

If convicted of the charges against him, Davis faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The other defendants each face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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