Authorities say dozens of people face drug or weapons charges as part of a crackdown in parts of the metro-east that the St. Clair County prosecutor says are "in a state of lawlessness."
State's Attorney Brendan Kelly says most of the more than 50 people charged are from East St. Louis, Washington Park, Alorton and Cahokia. The three-month investigation, dubbed "Operation Wild, Wild East" was funded by a federal grant overseen by Illinois State Police.
Kelly says the communities where the alleged offenses took place don't have enough policing, and that laws simply aren't being enforced.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A metro-east judge's docket of hundreds of cases has been reassigned after the county's top prosecutor revealed that the judge is under federal investigation.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelley didn't detail the reason for the investigation. But he said he filed a complaint Thursday against Circuit Judge Michael Cook with state judicial discipline regulators.
Kelly and the county's chief judge, John Baricevic, says they've been cooperating with federal authorities.
Kelly says he has "actively assisted in and advanced a federal investigation" of the judge. He says that aid resulted in law-enforcement searches of Cook's Belleville home and his hunting cabin in western Illinois' Pike County.
The investigation has raised new questions about the death of 49 year old Circuit Judge Joe Christ, who died in March while at Cook's Pike County hunting cabin.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Three southwestern Illinois men are accused of violating the state's absentee ballot laws before a municipal election earlier this month.
Prosecutors in St. Clair County charged 59 year old James Haywood Jr. of Cahokia and August Stacker Jr. of Belleville with one count apiece of violation of absentee ballots. Twenty-five-year-old Steveland Kidd of Cahokia faces two felony counts.
The county's state's attorney, Brendan Kelly, says 27 absentee ballots from municipal elections involving Alorton and Cahokia were challenged and rejected, based on the findings of investigators.
The three were jailed on Tuesday, when Kelly announced the charges. Online court records don't show whether they have attorneys.