Seventy federal agents, police officers, and prosecutors recently started working there in what authorities say is a first-of-its-kind drug-fighting headquarters.

It brings together the federal Drug Enforcement Administration; the FBI; the Internal Revenue Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration, and Customs Enforcement; the U.S. Marshals Service; Chicago and suburban police; and federal and state prosecutors.

Working together around the clock, the aim is to end agency rivalries and miscommunications that can hurt investigations, Chicago DEA boss Jack Riley says.

"We're going after the 'choke points,'" Riley says. "The point where the cartels and the street gangs intersect. Whether you're the Latin Kings or the Gangster Disciples, you've got to deal with the cartels—as far as we're concerned, it's all one big organization."

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