Fresno police said Tuesday that they made four arrests and seized 15 pounds of methamphetamine in a "significant" case involving a Mexican drug trafficking ring.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the investigation, which included federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents, targeted a ring smuggling drugs to the San Joaquin Valley and other cities across the country.
"Our investigation has determined that they have in fact supplied crystal meth to Chicago, Atlanta and Houston, and all throughout California," Dyer said.
The case culminated Saturday at Elm and Jensen avenues in southwest Fresno, where the accused smugglers met undercover agents and were taken into custody.
Arrested were Felipe Munoz, 31, and Juan Perez Jr., 21, both of Indio; Francisco Liera, 29, of Cathedral City; and Armando Gallardo, 27, of Reedley, Dyer said.
A fifth subject in Mexico is being sought by the DEA. Search warrants were served in Reedley and Cathedral City.
Dyer said the investigation began a month ago when an informant told drug agents that he had been in contact with major traffickers in the Mexican town of Algodones.
After the agents were introduced to the traffickers, they negotiated to buy 30 pounds of methamphetamine at $17,500 per pound, for a total of $525,000.
Only half that amount was delivered Saturday, concealed by the suspects in a 2002 Honda Accord with a hidden compartment requiring several elaborate steps to open.
"The key had to be turned on, and once it was, the defroster turned on, the lights of the vehicle turned on, and then a magnet had to actually be waved across a cupholder, which then allowed that compartment to be opened," Dyer said.
Dyer was joined for the announcement by John Donnelly, resident agent in charge of the DEA's Fresno office, who said the case shows that "drugs are both a local issue and they are an international issue."