The 12 arrested face federal and state firearms or drug charges, including distribution of powder cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamine. The arrests took place Tuesday at locations around the area, all without incident, a release from the FBI said. The investigation, dubbed Operation Devil's Playground, was started in 2009 as a joint effort of the FBI's Joint Task Force on Gangs, with assistance from the Chicago High-Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area Task Force. Five separate federal criminal complaints were unsealed in U.S. District Court following the arrests, and seven separate criminal complaints were filed in state court. The investigation targeted drug and weapons trafficking by members of the Satan Disciples, centered in and around the intersection of 59th and Richmond streets. As of Wednesday, 11 firearms, various types of ammunition and more than $15,000 has been confiscated, the release said. Arrested on federal charges were Ranulfo Valadares, aka "Speedy," 30, of Chicago; Luis Castaneda, 29, of Berwyn; Jaime Reyes, 35, of Chicago; and Refugio Avila, aka "Fugi," 31, of Chicago. A warrant was also issued for the arrest of Juan Castaneda, 27, of Chicago, who has not been found, the release said. Valadares, Luis Castaneda and Reyes appeared in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Tuesday, and were ordered held pending court appearances later this week. Avila is scheduled to appear May 11 to be formally charged, the release said. State charges were filed against Gerardo Gomez, 22; Myra Perez, 25; Sergio Banderas, 29; Steven Buegel, 32; Lawrence Winston, 35; Marcus Gordon, 28; and Jessie Talavera, age 23, all of Chicago. Court information was not immediately available.
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