Authorities are charging leaders of a prison gang with running a crime ring from behind bars.
It comes two weeks after authorities accused suspected leaders of a different gang with organizing drug trafficking and murders from their California prison cells.
U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday that authorities arrested 54 people on allegations that they are connected to the Nuestra Familia prison gang and affiliated Norteno street gang.
They’re suspected of murder, robbery, extortion and trafficking in drugs and illegal firearms in Kings and Tulare counties about 200 miles (322 kilometers) southeast of Sacramento.
Federal authorities allege that two high-ranking Nuestra Familia members used contraband cellphones from inside Fresno County’s Pleasant Valley State Prison to have narcotics shipped from Mexico for distribution by other gang members.