Jesus Marquez-Marquez

Jesus Marquez-Marquez (U.S. Attorney's Office)

LOS ANGELES – Authorities have busted a major methamphetamine ring that officials say was responsible for smuggling 200 pounds of meth into Southern California from Mexico every month.

Ten people are under arrest.

The "Don Chuy Drug Trafficking Organization" smuggled large quantities of methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States by hiding the drugs in special compartments fake car batteries in vehicles driven through international ports of entry, according to the U.S. Attorney.

The drug ring then distributed the meth through distribution cells based in the Inland Empire, California's Central Valley and Washington.

During an eight-month investigation into the "Don Chuy" organization, law enforcement authorities seized approximately 90 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of well over $5 million.




Authorities made a series of large seizures of narcotics, including seven pounds of methamphetamine on August 11, 2009, almost five pounds of nearly pure methamphetamine on September 9, 2009, approximately 24 pounds of methamphetamine that was discovered in a tractor-trailer on Interstate 5 in Kern County on October 26, 2009, 10 pounds of methamphetamine in Fresno on November 17, 2009, and five pounds of methamphetamine at a house in Gardena Thursday morning.

Authorities believe the Gardena home was maintained by the Don Chuy organization.

The Don Chuy Drug Trafficking Organization is named after the ring's alleged leader, Jesus Marquez-Marquez, who is known as "Don Chuy."

Marquez-Marzquez stored drugs in Tijuana stash houses before the drugs were moved across the international border, according to the U.S. Attorney.

Marquez-Marquez, who is believed to be in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Several of Don Chuy's top lieutenants -- including David Jimenez-Pedroza, who allegedly oversaw domestic distribution of Don Chuy narcotics -- were arrested Thursday or were previously taken into custody.

The criminal complaint charges 31 defendants with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, a charge that carries a statutory maximum penalty of life without parole in federal prison.

"The organization targeted today is believed to be responsible for bringing more than 200 pounds of meth into Southern California every month -- enough meth to supply thousands of people with this highly addictive and dangerous drug" said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge in Los Angeles.

The FBI, DEA and IRS-Criminal Investigation, along with the Fontana Police Department, the Downey Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol, the Hawthorne Police Department, the Inland Regional Narcotics Enforcement Team (IRNET), the California Methamphetamine Task Force (CALMET), the United States Secret Service, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department, and the Riverside Sheriff's Department participated in the operation.