LOS ANGELES — Federal authorities said 31 people faced drug charges in a crackdown Thursday targeting a large-scale ring that funneled methamphetamine from Mexico to California and Washington using fake vehicle batteries.
The suspected ringleader, Jesus Marquez-Marquez, was believed to be in the Mexican state of Michoacan and has not yet been arrested, authorities said.
Marquez-Marquez, also known as Don Chuy, allegedly ran the drug ring that stored the drug in Tijuana before it was moved across the U.S.-Mexico border via hidden compartments and bogus car batteries.
Marquez-Marquez is accused in a federal complaint of having a number of distribution cells in California's Central Valley, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and the state of Washington.
The ring is believed to have brought more than 200 pounds of meth into Southern California every month.
About 90 pounds of meth worth more than $5 million was seized Thursday as well as eight kilograms of cocaine. Ten people were arrested, and others were being sought.
It wasn't immediately known if any of them had retained attorneys.
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Each federal drug conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.