The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said their Special Investigations Group set another record in 2021 by seizing $5 million worth of illegal drugs and 54 illegally possessed firearms.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group (SIG) is a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) funded task force.
According to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli, the SIG in 2021 seized 54 illegally possessed firearms, dismantled a Lake County street gang and proactively prevented “bloodshed” by stopping two drive-by shootings that had been ordered by a gang.
Last year’s seizures included nearly 70 pounds of powder cocaine; over 11 pounds of methamphetamine; over three pounds of heroin; nearly eight pounds of ketamine; over five pounds of illegally trafficked cannabis; and hundreds of grams of crack cocaine, ecstasy and fentanyl.
In addition to drug trafficking enforcement, the SIG places a “major emphasis” on human trafficking, Covelli said.
The SIG conducts investigations and arrests people who deceitfully lure unsuspecting victims into forced servitude.
Covelli said that the SIG is a partner in the Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force and members of SIG work with community partners to educate them on the warning signs and how to report suspected human trafficking.
The SIG also offers presentations to school educators, students, community organizations and neighborhood groups to keep the community closely informed of drug trends, warning signs and resources available.
SIG is the only HIDTA funded group in Lake County. “With this funding, they are able to allocate substantial resources toward drug trafficking organizations, money laundering organizations, and criminal enterprises,” Covelli said.
“As your Sheriff, my number one priority is to do everything in my power to keep our community safe. I firmly believe our expanding of SIG over the past few years created a robust and proactive enforcement group, where we can focus on violence, drug trafficking, and human trafficking,” Sheriff John D. Idleburg said.
“This has undoubtedly saved lives from being lost to violence and drug overdose. In the years to come, we will continue expanding SIG and our other task force groups, which are all essential in reducing crime and helping the community,” Idleburg said.
Participating Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group agencies are the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Law enforcement participants include the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, North Chicago Police Department, Park City Police Department, Round Lake Beach Police Department, Wauconda Police Department, Waukegan Police Department, Winthrop Harbor Police Department and Zion Police Department.