"That house, I don't know because the rent is low, what it offers that people feel that they can go in there and sell drugs," said Pastor William Turner of the Victory Outreach Church that sits just two doors down the block from the scene.
Johnny Washington, 23, was arrested for possession of heroin with intent to sell. Abe Brown, 26, and Demario Cole, 20, were also taken into custody on charges related to resisting arrest.
This is the latest in what has been a series of high-profile arrests of known Waco Street Gang members in Rockford. Jarvis Washington, 26, was arrested in September on aggravated battery charges. Charles Brown, 25, was arrested earlier this month on drugs and weapon charges.
"Most of us coming out of that life style, we recognize immediately, certain traffic pattern that let's us know something's going on," Turner said refering to his battle to stay clean for more than 22 years and now devotes his life to his faith and trying to keep a watchful eye on his neighborhood.
Authorities make it clear they're targeting gangs.
"This particular gang certainly," said Dominic Iasparro, Deputy Chief of the Winnebago County Sheriff Departmant. "This gang, the moes and the WACO street gangs, which are two Rockford-based street gangs, which are, which are smaller factions of larger street gangs, the disciples and the vice lords. These are smaller local spin offs of those two major street gangs which originated in Chicago."
"We are alert in the neighborhood," Turner said. "We talk to one another, people across the street, because we want to keep our community a healthy and safe one, especially for the people who come to the church here."
"We can't do our job without people coming forward," Iasparro said.
Getting gangbangers off the street one at a time needs communication from the neighborhood, according to Iasparro.
"Every member of a particular street gang that you take off, no matter what the charge might be that locks them up, takes them off the street, is one less person that's abt to be involved in a violent crime," said Iasparro.
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