The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group, which is made up of local law enforcement and federal agencies, made a record number of seizures involving guns and drugs in 2022, the agency announced Thursday. | Provided Photo

Lake County’s Special Investigations Group seized a record $7 million worth of drugs and 120 illegally possessed firearms and arrested almost 70 suspects in 2022, authorities said.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group (SIG) is a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) funded task force.

The SIG is the only HIDTA-funded initiative in Lake County, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.

Covelli said the funding allows the group to put substantial resources toward drug trafficking organizations, money laundering organizations and criminal enterprises,

The SIG opened 112 criminal cases, arrested 67 suspects and seized nearly $7 million worth of illegal drugs in Lake County.

They also seized 120 illegally possessed firearms, many of which were possessed by convicted felons, Covelli said.

The seizures included over 72 pounds of powder cocaine, nearly 10,000 grams of fentanyl, four pounds of heroin, over 61 pounds of illegally trafficked cannabis and over 14,000 illegally trafficked prescription pills.

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The SIG is a partner with the Lake County Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the group conducted multiple presentations throughout Lake County in 2022 on the warning signs of human trafficking.

Members of SIG conducted a number of presentations to school educators, students, community organizations and neighborhood groups to keep the community closely informed of drug trends, warning signs and resources available, Covelli said.

Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said the SIG has been placing a major emphasis on arresting drug traffickers, seizing illegally possessed firearms and rescuing victims from human trafficking.

“The amazing partnership we have developed with federal and local law enforcement is a significant reason SIG is so successful. Congratulations to our Special Investigations Group for keeping seven million dollars’ worth of drugs out of our community and seizing over 100 illegally possessed firearms,” Idleburg said.

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) participate in the SIG.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Park City Police Department, Round Lake Beach Police Department, Round Lake Park Police Department, Wauconda Police Department, Winthrop Harbor Police Department and Zion Police Department are also part of the group.