December 30, 2010. Police are called to a Fairfield Township home to the scene of a home invasion. Two men had forced their way into the home and shot Angel Rivera twice. One of those bullets grazes his face.
Days later, a record pot bust is made. Police found a staggering 850 pounds of marijuana while they were investigating Rivera's shooting. The 21 year-old Rivera is arrested, charged with trafficking and possession and facing up to 18 years behind bars if convicted.
Meanwhile, the scenes from Mexico are incredible. Shootouts in the streets and car bombs used to kill cops. Mexican drug cartels are deadly, well funded and highly motivated.Rusty Fleming is a documentary film-maker and one of the country's foremost experts on these cartels.
"People don't understand exactly how much money these cartels have invested and keep investing into their weapons and intelligence." Fleming said.
When asked if Mexican drug cartels are operating in Cincinnati, Fleming answers simply, "Yes."
The Tri-state seems so far removed from those scenes along the U.S./Mexico border. The truth is, that border is fast moving north. Incredibly powerful and influential Mexican drug cartels have decided that they aren't going to simply allow typical street gangs distribute their product. They have taken over the distribution. That means serious trouble.
"The danger here is giving them a foothold in these cities. They are doing exactly what they have been doing in Mexico and now they are doing it here," says Fleming.
Numbers from the FBI back that up. The uniform crime report put out by the Feds shows the top 10 most violent cities in the nation include Detroit, Memphis, Nashville and Charleston, South Carolina. In every one of those cities, the rise in violent crime was directly traced back to Mexican drug cartels.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced in 2009 a major strike against the Sinoloa drug cartel run by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman. He is responsible for half of the violence in the world's most dangerous city. His operation was in Chicago and two of his direct routes from Chicago are Columbus and Cincinnati.