An indictment announced today offers a scary, fascinating look into a new alliance between a California prison gang, including a current hunger strike leader, and a Mexican drug cartel.
Florencia 13 — from the Florence-Firestone district of LA — and La Familia Michoacana were apparently combining forces, with the gang giving permission to the cartel to sell methamphetamine
Important to note: Also mentioned as an unindicted co-conspirator is Mexican Mafia member Arturo “Tablas” Castellanos, who runs Florencia 13 and is currently one of the four leaders of the Short Corridor Collective in Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU) promoting a hunger strike across state prisons to protest solitary confinement of its members and others.
Castellanos, whose name appears 30 times in the indictment, allegedly communicated with the street using his visitors to Pelican Bay and those who visited accomplices.
The indictment alleges if not a new cooperation between cartels and the state’s prison gangs, certainly a deepening of those relationships, though authorities say they got it while the alliance was still in its early stages. At one point, La Familia allegedly paid the prison gang $150,000.
(Read the press release here.)
La Familia Michoacana is a strange cartel based in the Mexican state of Michoacan, involving Catholic teachings with drug trafficking. Members of the cartel allegedly paid money to the gang and the Mexican Mafia, and sold drugs at discounted prices, to be able to sell in the area.
Florencia 13 is a many decades-old gang. In 2007, more than a hundred Florencianos were arrested and charged with racketeering, as well as waging a war on blacks in their neighborhoods, which are unincorporated parts of Los Angeles, south of downtown and north of Watts.
All of this was allegedly on orders from Castellanos, who is serving a life term in Pelican Bay SHU for a murder committed in Los Angeles in 1979, as well as gang crimes committed while in prison since then.
I’m reading through the indictment as I travel to Ohio for more reporting for my book on heroin trafficking. More later.
Photo: CDCR & California Watch