$20 million in methamphetamine nabbed in Los Angeles, along with major drug dealers
Mexican outlaws arrested posed enormous threat to Southern California
Using phone calls made inside jails and state prisons. Federal agents were able to nab major shipments of methamphetamine in the Los Angeles, suburb of Montebello. In one of the largest seizures of "crank" in California history, at least $20 million worth of the deadly narcotic was seized along with major players in the Mexican mafia scene.
The arrest of eight accused gang members has effectively halted what could have been a disastrous situation for Southern California, federal agents say.
Agents from the DEA and ATF partnered with local law enforcement to nab the suspects. The suspect were key figures in an alliance being forged between the Mexican Mafia, also known as "La Eme" and "La Familia," a Mexican drug cartel that has made deadly inroads into the illegal drug market in the U.S.
Known as "The Project" by gang members, La Familia wold have provided a steady supply of meth to La Eme monthly to sell throughout Southern California, according to Sarah Pullen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
La Familia would then have free reign on the streets and protection in prison, according to Steven Bogdalek, special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Police also seized an array of handguns and other firearms along with 600 pounds of meth which had been accumulated over a span of three years.
"Our joint efforts have helped disrupt the plot that could've flooded our neighborhoods with tons of methamphetamine and other narcotics," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. says. "We have put to an end an alignment of criminal organizations that would have been unprecedented."
The DEA had indicted 13 people in connection with "The Project" and arrested five others prior to the massive bust this week. All but one of the known suspects are now in custody, Pullen says. The final gang member under indictment is believed to be hiding in Mexico.
"We believe that we have initiated a crippling effect to those members who are still loyal to the Mexican Mafia criminal organization," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said in a statement issued by the ATF.
The ATF named 31 street gang members in a separate indictment. These suspects are charged with crimes ranging from possession of firearms, drug offenses, aiding and abetting, racketeering and conspiracy. All of them face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The last large-scale crackdown on the Mexican Mafia in Southern California occurred in Orange County in 2007, when 100 members and associates were charged. Five were sentenced to life without parole in federal prison.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
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