SAN JOSE -- Two people were arrested and face drug charges after a long investigation ended when they were found with a vehicle that had hidden compartments containing 37 pounds of methamphetamine, sheriff's officials said.

Juan Manuel Ponce-Chavez, a 22-year-old San Jose resident, was the subject of an investigation for the past several months, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. Investigators found that Ponce-Chavez has ties to the Mexican state of Michoacan, which is rife with activities of drug cartels, and believed him to be a major drug trafficker based in San Jose, according to a news release.

San Jose residents Juan Manuel Ponce-Chavez, 22 (left), and Norma Yolanda Juarez, 28 (right), were arrested after Santa Clara County sheriff’s
San Jose residents Juan Manuel Ponce-Chavez, 22 (left), and Norma Yolanda Juarez, 28 (right), were arrested after Santa Clara County sheriff's investigators found them in a vehicle containing 37 pounds of methamphetamine hidden within compartments. The drug investigation lasted several months and concluded on March 27, 2014. (Courtesy Santa Clara County Sher)

Based on the investigation, special operations detectives with the sheriff's office moved in on Ponce-Chavez on March 27, and found him with the vehicle, drugs and Norma Yolanda Juarez, a 28-year-old San Jose resident who was also arrested.

The wholesale value of the methamphetamine seized is more than $200,000, and "substantially higher when broken down into street-level quantities," according to the sheriff's office.

Both suspects are being held at the Santa Clara County Jail., with bail set at $1 million for Ponce-Chavez and $500,000 for Juarez.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the sheriff's office at 408-808-4315.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.



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