Dozens of alleged members of the Texas Mexican Mafia were recently arrested, according to the United States Department of Justice. A total of 37 people were indicted by a federal grand jury on several charges, including conspiracy, firearms crimes and narcotics offenses.

Twenty-six people were taken into custody on May 19 in San Antonio by local, state and federal law enforcement officers following the indictments. Eight others were already in custody on other charges, and three are fugitives. The people who were arrested were alleged to have distributed heroin and methamphetamine since 2015 and to have collected a 10 percent fee from non-gang members who participated in selling the drugs. People who didn’t pay the 10 percent fee faced serious repercussions, including the possibility of being killed.

The indictments and arrests followed an investigation that was conducted by multiple agencies, including the FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations and multiple state and local law enforcement agencies. The defendants who are facing charges of conspiring to extort may receive up to 20 years in prison. Those who are charged with drug conspiracy face between five and 40 years in prison. The defendants who are facing firearms charges are facing consecutive 10-year sentences on top of their other charges.

Drug charges may lead to very severe penalties. When allegations of distribution and conspiracy are involved, people who are convicted may face decades in prison. Those who are charged might want to get help from criminal defense attorneys as soon as they are able to do so. Attorneys may build strong defense cases for their clients.