Authorities say they've thwarted a massive multinational business merger in Southern California—between Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana and US prison gang Mexican Mafia. "This would have opened a superhighway for drugs and guns and given this cartel an exclusive franchise," says US attorney Andre Birotte Jr., per the LA Times. Authorities issued two indictments against the cartel and gang, with some 400 ATF and local officers arresting nearly two dozen people and seizing 600 pounds of meth (value: $19 million) and a number of firearms in raids across Los Angeles on Monday, reports CBS Los Angeles.
"This is the first time the street gangs and cartels have come together on this scale," says Birotte. The deal, creatively titled "the Project," would have given members of the cartel protection and "free rein" to sell meth in Southern California (much of which is controlled by the Mexican Mafia and affiliated street gangs) so long as it provided money and meth to members of the prison gang, according to one indictment, the Times reports. Many of those named in the indictments are already behind bars, and if convicted, will be dispersed to other prisons across the country in an effort to weaken the gang's operation, says Birotte. (Read more Mexican drug cartel stories.)