The Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group seized over $3 million worth of drugs and made over 50 arrests in 2021, state police announced.
The state’s nine metropolitan enforcement groups (MEGs) cover 20 counties and have seized illegal drugs valued at approximately $71 million in 2021, the Illinois State Police said.
The Illinois State Police MEGs are a collaborative effort among state, federal and local law enforcement agencies that crack down on illegal drug and gang activity.
The Lake County Metropolitan Emergency Group (LCMEG) consists of multiple police agencies and works closely with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, their website says.
LCMEG opened approximately 87 cases in 2021. 73 cases were closed and approximately 15 cases are ongoing.
Agents made 76 seizures of illegal drugs like illegally possessed cannabis, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, fentanyl and carfentanyl, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, pharmaceuticals and psilocybin.
The estimated street value of all the drugs seized in 2021 is estimated at just over $3 million.
Agents made 44 arrests for delivery or possession of illegal drugs and made an additional 10 gang-crime-related arrests and seized 61 weapons.
LCMEG overall seized many more illegal drugs and weapons than in 2020.
Compared to 2020, agents seized over three times the amount of illegally possessed cannabis and approximately 20 times the amount of cocaine, heroin and LSD in 2021.
The nine MEGs in the state opened a total of 1,404 investigations in 2021. 1,131 cases are closed and approximately 1,247 are ongoing.
They received a total of $1,170,000 in funding in 2020 from federal asset forfeiture funds, state asset forfeiture funds and drug traffic prevention funds, the state police said.
MEGs also provide educational seminars to community groups, schools, law enforcement agencies and treatment organizations.
Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said that effective this year, the statute governing MEGs was amended by state legislators to expand their jurisdiction in what types of crimes they can investigate.
The amendment says MEGs can now investigate and enforce human trafficking, firearms offenses and violations of the Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) Act.
“Through the strong state, local and federal partnerships of the MEG units, drug enforcement across our state is focused on apprehending violent, drug-trafficking criminals profiting off the pain of those losing loved ones to dangerous drugs,” Kelly said.
“The ISP is thankful for the community-based partnerships like those of the MEG units because it leads to a more united, more effective front pushing back against these merchants of misery causing of this ongoing epidemic.”