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$3M in drugs, guns, cash seized in NE Georgia

Authorities in northeast Georgia seized about $3 million in illegal drugs and cash and arrested two Southern California men they say were part of a cartel.

The Banks County Sheriff’s Office seized 52.2 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of more than $2.6 million, 6.9 pounds of cocaine worth some $392,000, more than $22,000 in cash and 10 guns, Sheriff Carlton Speed said in a news release Wednesday.

About $3 million in illegal drugs and cash were seized in Banks County. (Baldwin Police Department)

"We are accustomed to large quantities of drugs passing through our jurisdiction by way of the interstate (I-85)," Speed said. "However, this is a unique case because the cartel essentially set up shop in Banks County."

Juan Carlos Melchor-Valencia, 20, and Fernando Garcia Mendez, 23, both of Orange County, Calif., are facing multiple charges.

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Valencia is charged with trafficking cocaine, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, officials said.

Mendez is charged with trafficking cocaine, trafficking methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, theft by receiving stolen property, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, possession of marijuana and driving without a valid license, according to the release.

Also, officials with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have placed a hold on Mendez.

"I am very proud of our deputies’ tenacious and exhausting investigation,” Speed said. “Without their thoroughness and attention to detail, these drugs would have already hit the streets of Banks County and North Georgia."

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