An army of federal and local law enforcement agents stormed Los Angeles’ fashion district Wednesday, arresting nine suspects, seizing $65 million and searching businesses that federal prosecutors allege have been laundering money for criminals including drug dealers and Mexican drug cartel kidnappers.
About 1,000 officials executed dozens of search and arrest warrants at the culmination of three separate investigations into the fashion district businesses, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek told the Los Angeles Daily News.
Nine people were arrested during the raid and five others were still being sought, Mrozek said in a written statement. The defendants were previously indicted by federal grand juries, though the indictments were sealed until Wednesday’s operation.
In one of the cases, three business partners are accused of laundering $140,000 in ransom money paid by the family of a U.S. citizen who was being held captive and tortured by the Sinaloa drug cartel, Mrozek said.