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Investigation nets arrests, drugs -- and alligator

By Heywood Hoffman

Tribune reporter

10:17 PM EST, February 8, 2013

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Spurred by the shooting of an off-duty police officer, a three-month joint investigation of a street gang faction ended this week with eight arrests in Summit and Chicago, along with the confiscation of guns, drugs -- and an alligator.

After an arrest was made in December's shooting, authorities began an investigation into the Latin Kings gang faction the suspect belonged to, targeting drug sales in Summit and the Chicago Lawn police district on the Southwest Side, according to a CPD news release issued tonight.

On Thursday warrants were served in both locations, leading to the arrests of eight people on drug or weapons charges, and the seizure of two loaded handguns, quantities of cocaine and cannabis, cash, and an alligator.

Details about were exactly where the 3-foot-long American alligator was found were not immediately available, but Cook County animal control officers took custody of the reptile and turned it over to the Animal Welfare League, according to Chicago Police News Affairs.

The investigation was coordinated by members of the Chicago Police Department’s Gang Investigation Division in conjunction with the Summit Police Department, the FBI's Joint Task Force on Gangs, DEA/Summit Task Force and Cook County Sheriff’s police, according to the release.

On Dec. 10 a Chicago police officer was wounded during a robbery attempt while he was in his car with his 2-year-old son on the 6300 block of South Nashville Avenue. The 34-year-old Englewood district officer, who recently had won an award for valor, was shot in the wrist and chest but was able to return fire, police said.

Although a bullet went into the car near where his 2-year-old son was sitting, the boy was not wounded, and the officer survived his injuries.

A few days later police arrested Mario Froylan, 27, of Summit, and on Dec. 15 his bail was set at $500,000 on attempted first-degree murder and other charges, according to court records.

Because of his alliance with members of a faction of the street gang, authorities began the investigation of the gang and drug activity that resulted in Thursday's arrests, police said.

Court information was not immediately available.

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