More than $5 million worth of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin along with $850,000 in cash were found during a massive drug bust in metro Atlanta on Thursday night, authorities said.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said the investigation began in south Fulton County and led them to Gwinnett County, according to a news release.
“The drugs came in and were off-loaded at a tire shop down in the south Fulton area, and the stash house was up in north Gwinnett,” DEA Atlanta agent Robert J. Murphy said at a news conference Friday.
Authorities began monitoring the tire shop on Metropolitan Parkway, and agents conducted surveillance on two vehicles seen leaving the shop for Gwinnett, the release said.
The Georgia State Patrol conducted a traffic stop on one of the targeted vehicles, a U-Haul truck, on Washington Road in East Point and found about 250 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, also known as “ice,” inside the vehicle, the release said.
Channel 2 Action News reported that the drugs were stashed under packages of La Moderna Jarochas cookies. The driver, Jonathan Vasquez Buena, was arrested and charged with trafficking methamphetamine, the release said.
The second vehicle was pulled over by Lawrenceville police, and they found about 25 kilograms of cocaine in the rear of the car, the release said.
Juan Antonio Guzman-Rodriguez, Antonio Jefferson Guzman and Jose Salvador Herrera Guzman were all arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine, the release said.
The traffic stop then led agents to obtain a search warrant for a home in Lawrenceville, where the DEA found a hidden compartment that contained eight kilograms of heroin, a shotgun, a handgun, drug packaging materials and $850,000 in cash, the release said.
Several car batteries, which had their insides removed to hide drugs in, were also recovered, the release said.
In total, $3.1 million worth of cocaine, $1.2 million worth of heroin and $1.1 million worth of meth was seized, the release said.
Murphy said the drugs came from one of seven Mexican cartels working in metro Atlanta, but he wouldn’t identify which cartel was involved, Channel 2 reported.
One of the four people arrested has been deported to Mexico for an aggravated felony, the release said. His name was not provided, and two of the others had Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds placed on them.
“Another successful law enforcement success targeting the Mexican organizations targeting this poison in our community,” Murphy said.
The bust was part of a joint investigation, which has been active since Nov. 2017, by the DEA and the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office. Lawrenceville police, East Point police and the GSP also contributed to the investigation.
Approximately 67 kilograms of cocaine, 21 kilograms of heroin, 250 pounds of meth, $2.2 million in cash, multiple firearms and 15 arrests have come from the investigation, the release said.
Zachary Hansen, a Georgia native, covers economic development and commercial real estate for the AJC. He's been with the newspaper since 2018 and enjoys diving into complex stories that affect people's lives.