Cleveland Scene: “Inside the Investigation that Brought Down a West Sixth Street Cocaine Dealer”

Mendez story cover

Here is my cover story from March 2015, about a recent federal drug bust of a twice-convicted cocaine dealer who owned a nightclub in downtown Cleveland with a Cleveland police officer. Gilbert Mendez, the nightclub owner, had connections to at least three Cleveland police officers.

If you’ve hung out on West Sixth Street in recent years, you might have bumped into Gilbert Mendez, the energetic, sociable, suit-wearing, fancy car-driving 37-year-old former owner of the now defunct Club Sin nightclub.

Club Sin fit in with the rest of the entertainment district in some ways and stood out in others. It was filled with promoters and faux glitz and glamour, offered the usual bottle service and VIP fun behind velvet ropes, and came equipped with burly bouncers, DJs and shot girls.

Mendez was no stranger to those parties. He was a businessman, through and through, and he ran what was, by most accounts, a successful nightclub packed by shot-slurping crowds every weekend.

He was also no stranger to federal prisons or the Cleveland police department. That history, which rubbed into his present day operation, is what landed Club Sin in the crosshairs of a drug task force.

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