The Narcotics Prosecution Bureau is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of narcotics cases throughout Cook County. This bureau represents a concerted effort and commitment by the State’s Attorneys’ Office to combat the devastating effects of narcotics in our communities. The impact of illegal drugs is far-reaching. Neighborhoods are plagued with drug dealers, increased street violence, and the scourge of gangs that support themselves with narcotics money.
It is the mission of the Narcotics Bureau to combat these problems with a multi-faceted line of attack. The “war on drugs” is not just a call to arms to the Assistant State’s Attorneys and support staff who work in this bureau; it represents a tremendous responsibility that these dedicated men and women carry out every day.
In addition to the prosecution of tens of thousands of narcotics cases annually, the Narcotics Prosecution Bureau also promotes treatment and diversion programs of low-level narcotics possession cases. These diversion programs focus on individuals addicted to narcotics and encourages them to break the vicious cycle of addiction.
Currently the bureau is comprised of five separate units: 1) Preliminary Hearings/Grand Jury Unit, 2) Narcotics Felony Trial/Special Prosecutions Unit, 3) Complex Drug Prosecutions Unit, 4) Asset Forfeiture Unit, and 5) Drug Treatment Programs Unit.
Preliminary Hearings/Grand Jury Unit
The Narcotics Preliminary Hearings Unit is responsible for staffing the Central and Weekend Bond Courts and conducting the bond hearings for all of the felony narcotics cases. Our prosecutors in bond court screen each case to find cases that qualify for the narcotics’ diversion programs. Those programs include Drug School and the Drug RAP (Rehabilitation Alternative Probation) Program.
The ASAs of this unit also staff the Special Grand Jury, which includes preparing the cases for indictment and presenting witnesses to the grand jury. In addition, these ASAs also conduct all of the preliminary hearings in Branch 57 and assist with the preliminary hearings in Branch 44 and 48.
Narcotics Felony Trial/Special Prosecutions Unit
This unit is actually two units combined into one. The Narcotics Felony Trial Division is staffed by ASAs assigned to two of our busiest courtrooms. These courtrooms consist only of narcotics or felony cannabis cases.
The Narcotics Special Prosecutions Unit is staffed by ASAs who prosecute some of the most dangerous drug dealers in Cook County. Their cases involve the seizure or delivery of huge quantities of narcotics and cannabis. ASAs in this unit are also on call 24/7 to assist police departments and law enforcement personnel with search warrant requests, and assist with narcotics investigations of the Mobile Strike Force and TRAP Programs.
Complex Drug Prosecutions Unit
The Complex Drug Prosecutions Unit was initiated more than 20 years ago and reflects a commitment from the Office to target major narcotics organizations and to work hand in hand with law enforcement to dismantle them at all levels. The ASAs in this unit specialize in proactive investigations that assist law enforcement agencies with specialized investigative techniques needed in long-term drug-related cases.
This unit works closely with police and agents assigned to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to attack these illegal drug trafficking organizations and their illegal open-air drug markets. As such, all of the ASAs in this unit are available to the law enforcement agencies around the clock.
Asset Forfeiture Unit
The Asset Forfeiture Unit is responsible for processing and litigating all of the cases where assets have been seized by law enforcement agencies in Cook County. The ASAs who staff this unit pursue the cases where there is a nexus to, or that are proceeds from, narcotics activities. These assets include: money, personal property, and real property.