The “Mexican Mafia” has been running an intricate racketeering scheme in Los Angeles County jails, authorities announced Wednesday.

The group is composed of gang leaders from different gangs in the Los Angeles area. Members would reportedly collect “taxes” on contraband from other groups, requiring that they gave a third of their drugs to the mafia. Prisoners were also forced to hand over a portion of their commissary purchases. Those who didnt comply were attacked or even murdered, according to the Associated Press.

Mexican Mafia leaders would use outside associates and even their own lawyers to carry out hits and missions outside the jail. Under attorney-client privilege, attorneys were able to communicate orders to the outside world without question.

In one instance, mafia members allegedly attempted to steal an inmates Mercedes-Benz. When the custodian of the car refused, a gang member shot him.

The U.S. attorneys office charged 83 gang members for their crimes on Wednesday. Of those charged, 35 are already in state or county prisons, but will be moved to federal facilities. (RELATED: How Many MS-13 Gang Members Have Been Arrested For Murder In The US?)

“These cases have delivered a major blow to the Mexican Mafia and leaders of many of the street gangs under the control of the organization,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna in a Department of Justice press release. “By taking out the gang members who control the jails, and by disrupting their communications network, we undermined the Mexican Mafias ability to coordinate street gang activity.”

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