ALTON, Ill. (AP) -- Police in the Mississippi River city of Alton say 85 people have been charged as part of a year-long investigation of crack cocaine trafficking.
Police Chief David Hayes says the chief focus of the sting by Alton police working with Madison County and federal prosecutors was to stem violence linked to street-level drug trafficking. Hayes says violent, repeat offenders are prosecuted when appropriate in federal court, where they face potentially tougher penalties.
Stephen Wigginton is the top federal prosecutor for southern Illinois. He says drug cases already prosecuted in federal court have produced two dozen convictions and prison sentences averaging 14 years. He said 10 suspects prosecuted on gun charges received sentences averaging eight years.
Hayes says authorities spent Monday trying to round up the final 30 defendants.
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