BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) — St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly is not keeping quite about the rampant crime in the Metro East. At a press conference Thursday announcing the capture and charges of more than 58 people, Kelly said the area is “in a state of lawlessness.”

Charges from a three-month investigation called, “Operation Wild, Wild East” overseen by Illinois State Police range from conspiracy counts to drug delivery, having illegal guns and the use of armed violence.

“These aren’t innocent guys this is not low hanging fruit,” Kelly said.

Of the 58 people charged Kelly said they had some 1,200 prior convictions combined.

“These are people who have a very dangerous criminal history, some of these defendants have prior murder charges, prior armed robbery charges, prior armed violence charges.”

Kelly said many of those charged were selling cocaine and heroin in plain view in East St. Louis, Washington Park, Alorton and Cahokia.

Kelly said throughout the operation undercover agents saw only one police car.

The investigation was funded by a federal grant.


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