SEATTLE—Local police say they're cracking down on one of the most violent Mexican drug cartels.
Federal and local officers announced Thursday in Seattle that 16 people were indicted in a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of meth and cocaine in connection with the La Familia crime syndicate.
Of the 16 indicted last week, 14 have been arrested and two remain fugitives. Four more defendants were charged by complaint in Federal Court with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances. The suspects are from Monroe, Renton, Kent, Snohomish, Everett, San Diego and San Jose.
Police also searched 19 homes and 22 cars in Washington state and California. They seized $200,000 in cash, 28 pounds of meth, 7 guns and 10 kilos of cocaine.
It's part of a nationwide crackdown called "Project Coronado" which authorities hope will send a strong message to "La Familia" which they say is linked to kidnappings and beheadings.
Mark Bartlett of the U.S. Attorney's Office says, "We are not going to let La Familia establish a foothold in this district. We will use everything in our power to ensure that never happens. We will use wiretaps. We will use drug informants. We will use uncover officers, surveillance, every tool available."
Nationwide more than 300 alleged "La Familia" cartel members and associates were arrested during the two day take-down.
The local suspects are being held at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. Some will face detection hearings on Monday.