Mexico's cartels are learning a thing or two from Nancy Botwin, the suburban housewife-cum-drug baroness of Showtime's Weeds.
On Wednesday, nearly 1,000 federal and local law-enforcement officials raided dozens of garment businesses in Los Angeles' Fashion District "as part of a long-running investigation into alleged money laundering for Mexican drug cartels," the Wall Street Journal reported.
Nine people were arrested and some $65 million was seized in the raid, but the most ridiculous part of the whole ordeal may be an alleged scheme to use a maternity store as part of a ransom scheme:
In the most harrowing scheme detailed in the three indictments released Wednesday the Sinaloa cartel allegedly directed ransom money to be delivered to Q.T. Fashion Inc., a maternity apparel wholesaler on East 12th Street.
The ransom involved a drug distributor who had fallen into debt to the cartel when U.S. agents intercepted a shipment of 100 kilograms of cocaine he was responsible for. He was allegedly kidnapped and tortured at a ranch in Sinaloa until he could pay off the debt. His family and friends delivered at least $140,000 in bulk cash to the Los Angeles business, according to the indictment.
If this sounds familiar, it should: A maternity store was a major part of a drug-smuggling operation in the fourth season of Weeds, in which Nancy Botwin (played by Mary-Louise Parker) manages a maternity store in a strip mall on the U.S.-Mexico border as cover for a secret tunnel used to move drugs and money.
There are few things better than when life imitates art.