5 arrested in Cherokee, Dalton meth busts

Authorities say state prison inmates involved in meth distribution ring.

A pair of Georgia state prison inmates are allegedly involved in a methamphetamine distribution ring that was broken up this week, authorities said.

A wide-reaching police drug operation across north Georgia that included federal and state law enforcement resulted in five arrests and seizures of about $270,000 worth of methamphetamine, authorities said.

On Sunday, Dalton police detectives led the bust that resulted in the first two arrests in Dalton, said Phillip Price, commander of the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad.

Angela Elezan Lovain, 36, was carrying about 4.3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine from Cherokee County to Dalton when a Georgia State trooper involved with the sting stopped her.

After searching the car with the help of a drug-sniffing police dog, the drugs – with an estimated street value of $190,000 – were found hidden in an appliance box in the vehicle, authorities said.

Lovain and 51-year-old passenger Richard Lee Long, both of Chatsworth, were arrested by Dalton police and charged with possession of meth and trafficking meth, authorities said. Lovain also was charged with meth possession with intent to distribute.

GBI agents and investigators with the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad obtained a search warrant on Monday that led to seizures and arrests in Cherokee County, said Kim Williams, the GBI Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland bureau.

There, investigators took custody of 1.6 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $80,000, a sub-machine gun and approximately $64,000 in cash.

Agents and investigators also arrested Tatjana Jaric, 21, William Cuellar, 42, and Victor Martinez-Gonzales, 39, charging the three with trafficking meth. Cuellar also was charged with gun possession. All three are from Acworth.

At least two inmates housed at the Hancock State Prison in Sparta and at the Calhoun State Prison in Morgan were involved in the meth distribution ring, Williams said.

Though she did not specify their level of involvement, Williams said investigators found a cell phone with the inmate at Hancock.

The investigation continues.