SAN JOSE -- In what prosecutors are calling one of the biggest methamphetamine busts ever in the nation, 570 pounds of the drug were seized and 11 people arrested last week in a large operation that involved several South Bay police agencies.
According to the U.S. attorney's office, an indictment was handed down by a federal grand jury on Nov. 29, and the following day agents made the arrests and confiscated the drugs, along with 10 guns, seven vehicles and $160,000 in cash. The street value of the meth is estimated at more than $6 million.
While officials did not release the names of those arrested or further information about where the busts took place, agencies involved in the operation, led by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, included the police departments of San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill and Gilroy, as well as the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team.
Three bureaus of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were involved, as well as agencies from Merced, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Yolo counties.
All defendants appeared in federal court in San Jose on Friday and have further hearings scheduled later this week. Charges include conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. They were also indicted on charges of weapons and immigration
Last March, Palo Alto police officers searching for a stolen iPad uncovered an enormous stash of methamphetamine in the attic of a tidy San Jose apartment. The 748-pound haul was said to be the largest in U.S. history, and was found stuffed in duffel bags, boxes and thermos bottles in an attic that had to be accessed through a secret door at the back of a children's closet.
In that case, six family members -- including a grandmother and grandfather -- and a friend were ordered to stand trial last August. Prosecutors said the family ran a distribution hub on behalf of the Knights Templar Cartel based out of Michoacan, Mexico.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.