The six-month investigation, dubbed "Operation Shadow Box," was carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration and police in the city of El Cajon, a city east of San Diego.
Investigators said the suspects worked out of an Iraqi social club in El Cajon and shipped drugs supplied by the Mexican cartel to Detroit.
Authorities seized drugs, guns, ammunition and $630,000 in cash.
Many of the suspects are Iraqi Chaldeans - Christians who fled their homeland amid threats from al Qaeda and other extremists.
Officials were tipped off after neighbors and even some of the club members' spouses complained for years about the establishment's criminal activity.
The investigation is ongoing and there could be more arrests, officials said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.