Evidence seized from an apparent large-scale steroid distribution scheme. (Courtesy Irvine Police Department / April 5, 2013)

A joint investigation by local and federal law enforcement uncovered a large-scale steroids ring in Irvine that may have distributed the drugs locally and internationally, Irvine police announced this week.

Carlos Hernandez, 27, and his wife, Roxanne, 30, allegedly produced and distributed the illegal substance from Irvine.

Authorities say they found 40 vials and 20,000 pills they believe to be steroids when they searched the couple's home.

Police seized equipment and chemicals they believe was used to convert powdered steroids into a liquid form and shipping material allegedly used to send the product across the U.S. and world, according to police.

Three handguns, a shotgun, a rifle, several large-capacity magazines and more than $6,000 cash were also taken at the scene, police said.

The investigation began in a Bay Area mail screening facility when U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel found four pounds of powdered steroids in two packages addressed to the couple's Irvine home.

It culminated Wednesday night when Irvine detectives and special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations searched the couple's home.

They arrested the pair on suspicion of transporting or selling a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance, conspiring to engage in these activities, weapons charge for the large capacity magazines.

"There is no higher priority than for us to remove dangerous drugs and illegal weapons from our community," Irvine Police Chief Dave Maggard said in a prepared statement. "We are grateful for the cooperative relationships we have with our partners at Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection."

Carlos and Roxanne Hernandez were each booked in Orange County Jail on $500,000 bail, and the case was referred to the Orange County district attorney's office, police said.

jeremiah.dobruck2@latimes.com

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck