"And the sound of the battle rang through the streets of the old North side

'Til the last of the hoodlum gang had surrendered up or died

There was shooting in the street and the sound of running feet

And I asked someone who said, "Bout a hundred cops are dead!"

THE NIGHT CHICAGO DIED by Paper Lace, 1974.

Chicago never really recovered from the criminal reign of Al "Scarface" Capone and his band of gangsters. Congress passed the 18th amendment, which began prohibition of alcohol in 1920 and was repealed in 1933. However, Chicago gangsters continued to rob, rape, kill and pollute the citizens of Chicago with illicit drugs. They became entrenched organized crime families in the Depression era.

This mobster monster that was spawned by Capone took hold of the city and corrupted local politicians and cops for many years. The infamous Mayor Richard J. Daley's political machine was a result of this corrupting monster. Not much has changed today.

In the end, Capone was brought to justice by the Untouchables, imprisoned in Alcatraz, and eventually died of syphilis. Capone is gone but bigger and badder gangsters have come to power in the Land of the Dollar Bill. Especially dangerous are the leaders of Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) headquartered south of our border, but whose criminal gangs operate in our North American Cities. U.S. citizens are the number one customers for their poison product.

We might consider Sinaloa, Mexico native Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera as the latest version of Al Capone. He currently is the patron (boss) of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Like Al Capone in the 1920-30s, El Chapo is waging a "no holds barred" bloody war with other powerful rival gangs. These very violent gangs are also at war with law enforcement on both sides of our border.

The bloody toll of these gang wars numbers in the many thousands, and despite reports in the media to the contrary, the "spillover violence" has long occurred in American cities far from the southern border. We're paying a horrible price for allowing the proliferation of gangs and drugs in our communities — damage to our nation's health and social structure, deaths from overdoses, carnage on our highways, and drug-related murders.

The greatest cost and symptom of our demise as a nation is the lasting affect these criminal gangs have on our system of law and justice. The corruption these gangs bring to our public institutions is the greatest threat to America.

The annual estimate of the profit from cross-border narcotics smuggling alone is over $40 billion, and experts estimate that DTOs such as Guzman's cartel spend as much as to 60% of their drug income systematically bribing police and politicians.

In "On the Southwest Border—Public Corruption: A Few Bad Apples," a special report released by the FBI in August of 2010, the FBI reports that 12 border corruption task force teams operate in the southwest and a national corruption task force has been established at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va.

"Of the 700 agents assigned to public corruption investigations nationwide, approximately 120 are located in the Southwest Region," according to a quote from an unnamed senior federal agent. "We work closely with many federal agencies, including CBP, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The result has been more than 400 public corruption cases originating from the Southwest Region — and in the past fiscal year more than 100 arrests and about 130 state and federal cases prosecuted."

The big secret is that there are an unprecedented number of government officials on this side of the border who have been caught breaking their sacred oaths. These corrupt officials have been caught in the ranks of minor low-level government workers and also at the top of some of our most important agencies including the Border Patrol, our military and ICE.

Much of this is very thoroughly covered in Gary "Rusty" Fleming's documentary video and book "Drug Wars: Narco Warfare in the 21st Century." The tie between Sureño gangs, the Mexican Mafia prison gang and the Mexican DTOs is also covered in "Urban Street Terrorism," a new book by my good friend Al Valdez and Mexican Mafia defector Rene Enriquez.

These new gangsters actively engage in corrupting public officials. They're sophisticated in their approach and have huge amounts of cash to tempt even the most honest officer. They recruit vendedos (people who have sold out) by exploiting our human weaknesses.

The drug cartels have extensive intelligence systems. They train in surveillance and counter-surveillance techniques. They watch us and record information in their own data files. They target cops with drinking or gambling problems and cops who are in debt. They utilize family members and beautiful women to bait their traps. They are experts in knowing just the right moment to make "an offer you can't refuse." They offer silver or lead.

As a society, we can't allow these gangs to corrupt our justice system. Unless we have faith in our cops, court system, and government, we'll become a nation no different than any Third World country in central or South America.

The war against gangs and drugs in America must be taken more seriously by our apathetic citizens. Even our media, politicians and law enforcement should rededicate their efforts to exposing and eradicating these threats to our national safety and security.

Who's going to stop this corruption? Although I highly praise the work of the FBI and their public corruption task forces, I also realize they'll never be anything more than firemen responding to a blaze, after much damage has already been done.

The average deputy, police officer, detective, or correction officer must take on a role of monitor and early warning system. It's our duty. We must hold each other to an uncompromising high moral and ethical standard.

We must not allow the code of silence to flourish among us. Allowing just a little bit of corruption will cause much more damage than you can imagine. For your own safety and the welfare of your peers, report any suspected corruption immediately.

Related:

Legalizing America's Addictions Won't Cure Crime

Author

Richard Valdemar
Richard Valdemar

Sergeant (Ret.)

Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

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Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

View Bio
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