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State

31 charged in alleged Chicago-area heroin ring

WHEATON — DuPage County prosecutors and the Drug Enforcement Administration say 31 people have been charged with allegedly taking part in a heroin-selling ring in Cook and DuPage counties.

Authorities announced Wednesday that the heroin conspiracy and sales charges came after a six-month investigation into the alleged ring.

Seventeen of those arrested also were charged with violating the state's new racketeering law targeting street gangs. Those charged under the law face tougher penalties upon conviction if prosecutors prove their illegal activities were part of a larger criminal conspiracy.

DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin says heroin has led to led to 70 deaths in his county in the past 20 months.

He says he hopes the arrests serve as a deterrent to others considering dealing the drug.

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