Federal prosecutors in Atlanta say 13 members of a drug trafficking cell have been sentenced to federal prison for conspiracy to distribute drugs and launder money.

Prosecutors said in a news release Thursday that the group smuggled "staggering amounts" of illegal drugs from Mexico. The sentences ranged from 2 ½ to 20 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney John Horn says the case highlights Atlanta's role as a hub for Mexican cartels.

Prosecutors say passenger buses with no paying passengers moved drugs from Puebla, Mexico, directly to the Atlanta area. The drugs were frequently concealed in non-functioning batteries stored on the buses.

The investigation began in October 2013 and resulted in the seizure of more than 600 pounds of methamphetamine, 37 kilograms of heroin, 27 kilograms of cocaine and $680,000 in drug proceeds.