NEWNAN, Ga. - Thirteen individuals were indicted on September 1 and more than $2 million in drug proceeds were seized following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Investigations in Atlanta.
The investigation, which began in early April 2009, was conducted in conjunction with the ICE Office of Investigations in Houston and Laredo, the Coweta District Attorney's Office, the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office, the Georgia State Patrol, the Newnan Police Department and the Marietta Cobb Smyrna Drug Task Force.
In addition to the money seized, ICE agents recovered 68 kilograms of cocaine, 800 pounds of marijuana and three firearms.
The investigation revealed that an Atlanta-based drug trafficking and money laundering cell was responsible for the clandestine introduction of large quantities of cocaine into the United States from Mexico. The cell utilized tractor-trailers loaded with legitimate merchandise to smuggle illegal narcotics across the border. The proceeds from the drugs were subsequently transported in large quantities from the metro Atlanta area back to Mexico.
The Coweta District Attorney's Office indicted Robert Chavez-Diaz, 32; Miguel Angel Donis-Gonzales, 20; Jose Alberto Barriaga-Gonzales, 20 ; Julian Alejandro Castro-Zamora, 27; Edgar Dominguez, 31; Ricardo Santiago, 35; Ramiro Luna-Urbina, 35; Roger Escobar, 22; Jose Luis Martinez-Gonzalez, 27; Jesus Chavez-Torrez, 40; Gustavo Flores, 26; Francisco Tello-Flores, 22 and Ricardo Alvarez-Florentino, 40. All have been charged with Georgia state narcotics violations.
"These indictments are a testament to the outstanding law enforcement partnerships that exist here in Georgia," said Kenneth A. Smith, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Atlanta. "With every arrest and seizure, we are striking drug traffickers at their core by having an impact where it hurts them the most - their pockets."
"These indictments show what can take place when criminal justice agencies work together for the benefit of our citizens," said Newnan Police Chief Douglas Meadows. "The drugs seized during this operation will not go into our streets to inflict more damage to our society. Drug traffickers do not know jurisdiction boundaries and that is why criminal justice agencies should work together. The drug traffickers should realize that as long as they are in business, criminal justice agencies will strive to prevent the growth of their profits by seizing their products and prosecuting their employees and them."