Pierce County drug bust nets 50 pounds of meth, 13 arrests

TACOMA, Wash. -- DEA agents arrested 13 people and seized 50 pounds of meth this week as part of a yearlong investigation into a major Pacific Northwest drug ring.

In addition to the crystal meth, officers also found seven guns, $160,000 in cash and two gallons of liquid meth that was in the process of being converted to crystal meth, according to US Department of Justice.

The bust, which took place Sunday and Monday in Pierce County, was part of lengthy investigation into a drug ring thought to be responsible for selling large quantities of meth and heroin in western Washington, the Justice Department said.

"This criminal group built a business in moving two drugs, meth and heroin, that destroy lives and families and tear apart communities," U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a Tuesday news release. "Through the course of this case, law enforcement took more than 66 pounds of crystal meth off the streets and more than two and a half pounds of heroin. Federal and local partners working together have dismantled a major pipeline for drugs."

Twelve of the 13 people arrested were charged with a host of drug-related crimes in US District Court in Tacoma on Tuesday.

Due to the large amounts of drugs and guns involved, the defendants could face mandatory minimums of ten years in prison to life in prison if convicted, according to the Justice Department.