Federal agents today and Wednesday fanned out across Southern California and the rest of the nation in what has been described as the largest domestic crime strike against a Mexican drug cartel.
Twenty-four people were arrested locally and three area cells related to the La Familia cartel were targeted, stated L.A.-based U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Sarah Pullen. In the L.A. area alone 151 pounds of methamphetamine, 22 weapons and more than $135,000 in cash were seized as part of Project Coronado.
“The criminal organizations targeted in Operation Coronado were smuggling thousands of pounds of dangerous drugs into the U.S., many of which wound up in neighborhoods throughout Southern California,” said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the L.A. office. “Those arrested include key members of the La Familia organization, a violent Mexican drug cartel that is responsible for flooding our streets with cocaine, meth and heroin. By working in collaboration with our state and local law enforcement partners, these organizations will no longer be able to prey on our communities.”
La Familia, one of Mexico's newer cartels, has been especially violent in its home state of Michoacan, where it has reigned with automatic weapons and indiscriminate murders that have targeted even Mexican federal agents. The DEA states that La Familia likes to peddle methamphetamine to U.S. wholesalers and discourages its sale in Mexico.
Nationwide, Project Coronado netted the arrests of 1,186 individuals, the seizure of about $33 million cash, and the discovery nearly 2,000 kilos of cocaine, 27,300 pounds of meth, 16,390 pounds of marijuana, 389 weapons, and two drug labs.