Round Lake area police put pressure on gang activity
By Frank Abderholden email@example.com | @abderholden February 14, 2014 5:50PM
Police arrested 19-year-old Gabriel Tellez, an admitted gang member, after serving a warrant at his residence in the 700 block of Bernice Court in Round Lake. They found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, drugs, paraphernalia used for dealing drugs, and a surveillance system. | Submitted photo
Updated: March 17, 2014 11:34AM
Police officials and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office have been working on forming the Lake County Gang Task Force, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko used a recent arrest by his department’s gang unit and Round Lake police of a gang member who had a loaded sawed-off shotgun in his possession.
The gangs and guns add up to the likelihood of an innocent person being shot and heroin overdose deaths are directly tied to gangs because their members sell the product.
And now gang members are making personal threats against his officers.
“The use of weapons associated with street gangs and drug sales has begun to steadily increase in the last several weeks,” he said, “The increase in overdose deaths related to heroin is directly connected to gangs and has effected every demographic in Lake County,” he said.
Two recent examples is the aforementioned arrest by Round Lake police and his gang unit and a shooting at the Rosewood Apartments in Round Lake Jan. 30 where multiple shots were fired. One of his watch commanders, who is also the K-9 handler, heard the shots and got a description of the suspect vehicle.
A traffic stop led to police dog Blade making a positive hit for drugs. A search revealed a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun and several empty shell casings. Some of the errant shots hit some nearby buildings.
“Next time it could be an innocent bystander,” he said.
Filenko, who is also the commander of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said that his department’s Operation Street Sweep has generated threats by gang members against police officers. The operation has targeted street sellers and drug houses allegedly belonging to gang members. On Feb. 12, his gang unit and Round Lake officers served a warrant at a home in the 700 block of North Bernice Court in Round Lake.
Police found approximately 60 grams of cannabis, a loaded Remington 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun, drug paraphernalia consistent with drug sales, and a video surveillance system. Police arrested 19-year-old Gabriel Tellez, an admitted gang member.
He was charged with unlawful use of weapon (Class 3 felony), unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver (Class 4 felony), and unlawful possession of cannabis (Class A misdemeanor).
“It is absolutely essential law enforcement and government work together, expediently, to fund and organize a regional approach to an extremely dangerous and growing problem. The gang problem touches every community in Lake County,” said Filenko.
“We need to get this done now,” he said.
State’s Attorney Michael Nerhiem has held several meetings with key law enforcement officials in the past few months to form the Lake County Gang Task Force.
He was not immediately available to give an update.