Arrests made late Thursday and early Friday followed a coordinated undercover operation in Gilroy and involved local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the DOJ said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began an undercover operation with Gilroy police in March 2010 that targeted individuals who committed violent and criminal acts, focusing in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties, the DOJ said.
The charges included 42 counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, 24 counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, 14 counts of felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
The maximum penalty for each count of possession with intent to distribute is life in prison, a $4 million fine, and five years of supervised release. Conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, a $2 million fine and a life term of supervised release with a minimum of four years, the DOJ said.
The defendants made their first appearance in court Friday morning.