Drug Charges Filed After Dozens of Heroin Overdose Cases Reported

© Chicago Police Department (From left) Alfonzo Sylvester and Mario Wooford.
© Chicago Police Department (From left) Alfonzo Sylvester and Mario Wooford.

Two reputed gang members were arrested and appeared in court on drug charges over the weekend after Chicago Fire Department crews responded to 74 heroin overdose cases in 72 hours last week. 

Chicago police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were combing the West Side trying to find the source of the dangerous batch of drugs.

Alfonzo Sylvester, 24, was arrested Saturday and appeared in Leighton Criminal Court Building on Sunday on charges of possession of heroin with the intent to deliver and aggravated fleeing and eluding police, both felonies, prosecutors said.

Sylvester, wearing a denim jacket with red lettering that read “Rolling Bones,” stood silent as Cook County Judge James Brown set his bond at $30,000.

Mario Wooford, 26, was arrested Friday on a possession with intent charge after he and Sylvester are alleged to have sold an undercover Chicago police officer $720 worth of heroin on the West Side, prosecutors said. On Saturday, Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil set Wooford’s bail at $10,000 on the drug charge, taking into account that he has no history of violent crimes.

The men are members of the Unknown Vice Lords street gang, according to court records. They were arrested after Chicago recorded 74 overdose cases in 72 hours by Friday afternoon – more than double the number in the same three-day period last year.

Chicago police have said the dangerous batches of narcotics might be heroin laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl.

The drugs were bought primarily on the West Side, police said. A sample of heroin recovered by police may have contained fentanyl, authorities said.

Police were also investigating at least one death to see whether it was connected to the overdose outbreak.

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Source: Chicago Tribune | Jeremy Gorner and Tony Briscoe