Five of the defendants are charged with conspiring to purchase stolen infant formula from a supplier who was an undercover federal agent. The supplier arranged for and executed the sale of thousands of cases of the baby formula and other items, according to the FBI.
Ten federal search warrants were also executed Thursday at locations throughout L.A., Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. More than $750,000 was seized by the government from bank accounts.
Cases of baby formula that were seized had an estimated value of more than $500,000.
Defendants face a maximum penalty if convicted of five to 10 years in federal prison.
In a statement, the FBI said: "The items proffered to defendants during undercover meetings are legitimate products delivered directly by the manufacturer to law enforcement to assist in the investigation. Throughout this case, investigators found no counterfeit products or evidence of tampering that posed a risk to public safety during the illicit purchase, transfer or sale of products alleged in the indictments."
According to the FBI, the defendants named in an indictment arrested Thursday morning were Saad Yohanan, 55, of San Diego; Yusuf Ghazi Abu Dawas, a.k.a. Joseph Dawas, 33, of Escondido; Anas Abudawwas, a.k.a. Adam Abudawwas, 28, of Escondido; Eyad Ibrahim Abu Dawas, a.k.a. Dave Dawas, 41, of Encinitas; Ashraf Sulaiman, 38, of Alhambra; and Khair Zaben, 48, of Fontana.