Authorities seize $8.1M of meth and heroin in metro Atlanta

Drug traffickers have been disguising heroin as Mexican candy, according to investigators. (DEA)

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Drug traffickers have been disguising heroin as Mexican candy, according to investigators. (DEA)

Narcotics investigators looking into the growing metro Atlanta heroin trade said they got a good break Tuesday when a tip netted them 50 kilograms of meth and 14 kilos of heroin Tuesday, which illustrated the area’s dominance as a transit hub for illegal drugs.

Federal DEA agents in partnership with Atlanta police raided a house in the Lakewood Heights neighborhood in the city’s southeastern sector. The traffickers were using the house as a conversion lab to turn liquid methamphetamine — which is easier to smuggle — into “ice,” the powerful stimulant made infamous in the mega-hit TV series “Breaking Bad.”

“It’s huge in terms of a bust,” Atlanta Assistant Chief Shawn Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

During the search, agents found boxes of De La Rosa Mexican candy that weighed about 2.2 pounds — the size of a kilo - and they realized they had stumbled on to another smuggling technique. Heroin was encased in the candy.

“Have you ever seen candy that heavy,” said one agent as a reporter from The AJC picked up a box of candy-concealed opiate. “That was our first clue.”

Police arrested on man during the bust.

The drugs were seized at 1931 Compton Drive. The retail value is $8.1 million if sold in Atlanta and the wholesale value is about $2 million if headed elsewhere, said Dan Salter, head of the Atlanta office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

He noted that the price of a kilo of meth is currently $11,000 — down from $25,000 several years ago — indicating that the market is awash in the illegal stimulant. Tuesday’s bust indicated that the metro area is now being used for conversion laboratories — and evolving in its role as one the nation’s major distribution centers for the drug trade, Salter said.

“It’s one of the biggest in the United States,” he said. “It certainly is in the top two.”