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Twenty-four indicted in San Diego meth ring linked to Mexican cartel

September 23, 2011 | 11:04 am

Meth1 
Two dozen people have been indicted in San Diego on charges of distributing methamphetamine, the culmination of a year-long undercover investigation dubbed Operation Jackhammer.

More than 12 pounds of methamphetamine were seized at locations in San Diego and Chula Vista, along with 1.7 pounds of cocaine, officials said this week.

The 24 defendants were part of a "well-established, lucrative criminal ring with ties to Mexican drug cartels," said Derek Benner, special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's homeland security investigations in San Diego.

Of the 24, 19 are in custody and are set to be arraigned in San Diego federal court Friday and Monday.

Investigators named as ring-leaders Julie Muriel Peterson, 36, and Jose Marino Garcia Jr., 26. The home they shared in Chula Vista was used to store, weigh and repackage methamphetamine, according to court documents.

Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano said his department will continue working with other law enforcement agencies "to jointly combat drug traffickers operating in our region."

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Methamphetamine sized from smugglers. Credit: U.S. Border Patrol

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