LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than two dozen people have been indicted for their roles in a bi-national drug ring that sent methamphetamine to Southern California from Mexico, authorities said Thursday.
Sixteen of 27 people who all face drug conspiracy charges were arrested Thursday as part of a 16-month investigation.
If convicted, they each face a minimum 10-year prison term, while those who were charged with other drug-related counts could face up to life behind bars.
The ring involved members of the La Familia Michoacan drug clan and members of two Latino gangs in Southern California, authorities said.
Methamphetamine was imported in an unfinished or liquid state and then was re-crystallized, known as “icing,” investigators said. In most cases, the drug was 99 percent pure.
Jose Juan Garcia Barron, 33, of Ontario controlled the shipments made by planes, boats and vehicles crossing the U.S.-Mexican border, authorities said.
The drug was sold in Los Angeles County by gang members or their associates who gave some of the proceeds to the Mexican Mafia for protection, authorities said.
Also on Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Administration said it will bolster intelligence sharing and other efforts to curb illegal methamphetamine production.
Mexico has experienced a nearly 1,000 percent increase in seizures of clandestine methamphetamine labs and chemicals in the past two years. Last year, seizures of meth along the Southwest U.S. border totaled more than 16,000 pounds.
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