Sacramento County sheriff's officials announced Friday that investigators had seized nearly 475 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine with an estimated street value of $100 million at a rural Gilroy home.
The site is believed to have been a main distribution hub with trafficking connections to Modesto and Sacramento.
The investigators seized 459 pounds of meth, 15 pounds of cocaine, $35,000 in cash and two guns, according to a department news release.
The yearlong investigation culminated Thursday with a drug task force serving search warrants at the Gilroy home and locations in Modesto and Sacramento.
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The majority of the drugs were found in Gilroy. It was unclear if any drugs were found in Modesto or Sacramento. Sheriff's officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
About 7 a.m. Thursday, more than a dozen members of the drug task force team led by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department arrested three Gilroy men believed to have ties to a Mexican drug ring.
Authorities pulled one man out of the window of the home in Gilroy, which is just a couple of miles from an outlet shopping center, and arrested two others at the home.
With the help of Gilroy police and the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, sheriff's detectives arrested Fabian Ayala, 28, Hector Salazar, 43, and Sergio Valencia, 34, on suspicion of possession of meth for sales and manufacturing meth.
Meth converted from raw formInvestigators believe the men were converting meth brought from Mexico from its raw form into the street drug and packaging it at the Gilroy home.
"I've never seen a seizure like this in 30 years of law enforcement -- and working narcotics for almost 20 years -- at a single search warrant operation," said sheriff's Lt. Fred Links.
Investigators found dozens of gallon-sized thermos containers filled to the brim with raw meth, and bags stuffed with packaged kilos of cocaine spilled from kitchen cabinets, closets and bathroom cupboards, officials said.
Most of the meth used in the United States comes from foreign or domestic superlabs, but the drug can be made in small, covert laboratories with cheap over-the-counter ingredients, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Sheriff's Department launched the investigation about a year ago, after learning of a Mexican drug trafficking organization believed to be bringing sizable amounts of meth and cocaine into Central California, Links said.
"The pattern of this type of activity extends east, with the Central Valley being the meth capital of the world," he said. "It's right here in our own back yard, so we attack the organization as best we can."
Police found drugs and paraphernalia in almost every room of the house, from the garage to the bathrooms. A Sacramento sheriff's detective, kneeling on the floor of a bathroom, entered at least a dozen clear plastic bags of methamphetamine into evidence.
In addition to the drugs, police believe the men may have been using the home for cock fighting and dog fighting. Several pens of roosters dotted the expansive back yard.