Fayette Drug Task Force aids in coke, meth bust worth millions

Tue, 12/11/2007 - 6:01pm
By: Ben Nelms

Crime pays . . . for law enforcement Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies Dec. 7 display approximately $10 million in cash, 111 kilograms of cocaine, 17 pounds of methamphetamine and 32 weapons seized in 18 drug raids in metro Atlanta recently. Fayette Sheriff’s Drug Task Force participated in the raids.

An eighth floor conference room at the Richard Russell Federal Building in Atlanta Dec. 7 could have doubled as a bank if it were not for the fact that the millions of dollars on display were part of ongoing operations intended to take a bite out of two Mexican drug cartels.

A large group of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies watched as U.S. Attorney David Nahmias announced the results of the coordinated multi-million dollar drug and cash seizures made in the metro area during the last week.

One of those near the podium was Fayette County Sheriff’s Drug Task Force (DTF) Capt. Mike Pruitt. For Pruitt, the occasion was another reminder of the reality that drugs originating in Mexico more than 2,000 miles away have a direct connection to the smaller communities, like Fayette County, that lie beyond the shadow of the Gold Dome.

“This is what we’ve been talking about. You can’t fight the drug problem in this country by sitting back and chasing street dealers on every corner selling street dope. There’s a supply and demand that is coming in from outside the country, coming in here,” Pruitt said.

An example of the Mexico to metro Atlanta connection occurred in June when DTF and Fayette SWAT team members busted two Hispanic males attempting to sell two pounds of ice methamphetamine to undercover agents at Banks Crossing shopping center in Fayetteville. The meth came from Gwinnett County after being transported into the metro area from Mexico.

“If you don’t cut the head off the snake, you’re not going to stop the flow. So that’s the whole purpose for being involved in the strike force that the sheriff got us involved with, because the strike force targets the Mexican cartels that are setting up cells in the metro Atlanta area and distributing their drugs here. And Fayette County is a part of the metro Atlanta area. So if you think the drugs that are coming in here aren’t coming to places like Fayette and Coweta and Clayton, then you’re living with your head in the sand,” Pruitt said.

Operation Shooting Star was initiated in October 2006 by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF Strike Force). In March 2006, the Atlanta High Density Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force began identifying Georgia-based traffickers in Operation Latitude Adjustment.

Nahmias said the results of the efforts of Operation Shooting Star and Operation Latitude Adjustment included the seizure of $8-10 million in cash, 111 kilograms of cocaine, 17 pounds of methamphetamine and 32 firearms, including handguns and assault rifles. In addition, 42 defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury Dec. 4 and another 25 were charged by criminal complaints on Dec. 6 and 7, according to Nahmias. The seizures came from 17 drug busts in Gwinnett County and one in DeKalb County.

Representatives of the many federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were in attendance at the press conference. Nahmias recognized the agencies involved in the seizures efforts, noting that the teams working behind the scenes included hundreds of agents.

“These seizures mean that somewhere in Mexico there are some unhappy drug kingpins,” Nahmias said. “We will make them pay for their decision to traffick drugs here.”

With metro Atlanta long recognized as the major hub for drugs in the eastern U.S., those drugs would have been sold across the metro area and throughout the eastern United States. The busts last week went a long way toward disrupting the local chain of command, Nahmias said, because the local leadership reported directly to the cartels in Mexico.

Entering the United States from Mexico, the drugs are smuggled cross country by ground transportation methods and enter the metro area where are dispersed around the Atlanta and throughout the east coast. The cash from drug purchases returns to the Atlanta area for packaging the shipment back to Mexico, Nahmias said.

The operations that culminated in last week’s seizures began more than a year ago with Operation Shooting Star and Operation Latitude Adjustment. The investigation is continuing, said Nahmias.

To date nationwide, the operations involving 300 agents from numerous agencies have seized $27 million in cash and thousands of pounds of drugs, according to DEA Atlanta’s Special Agent in Charge Rodney Benson.

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Submitted by joeAnne on Fri, 05/22/2009 - 9:04am.

The truth is that the problem of drug addiction is a situation which should be stopped as soon as possible because more and more teenagers tend to at first try them and after that become dependent on them.

Submitted by EricMonroe on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 3:34pm.

This is an enormous bust! I wonder what kind of impact this will have on addiction in the area. Judging by the number of atlanta drug rehabs that I see in this treatment center directory, there are a lot of drugs in Atlanta.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 6:58pm.

There have been several more since then.

Not really a lot of drugs, just too many spineless LOSERS!!! Only losers use illegal drugs.

Submitted by Nitpickers on Thu, 01/01/2009 - 6:10pm.

Too general a statement!
Was G. Bush a loser? He did drugs for sometime.

I think what you really mean is that those who end up failing while on drugs are losers.
Those who have the bucks not to fail can do them a long, long time.

In other words losers are only those who can't support themselves!

Are millionaires who do little or no work losers? Is Paris Hilton a loser?

Are crooked corporate executives losers?

Are public officials who fail their voters losers?

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Thu, 01/01/2009 - 9:05am.

Personally saw a bank President, a prominent accountant, an insurance exec, a former county official and 2 former Fayette Chamber of Commerce Businesspersons of the year snorting something clearly illegal on a bus trip to a bank event several years ago.

Even Obama admitted some illegal drug use and he's not a pathetic loser - he actually won.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 01/01/2009 - 4:32pm.

I also have known several people that were (emphasis on WERE) very successful. One was a surgeon top of his class at Emory. He is now homeless/jobless because of illegal drugs.

Let me be clear on my definition of the term LOSER. It has nothing to do with wealth or the lack of it. You are a loser if you throw away your life for illegal drugs or crime. You are also a LOSER if you choose welfare instead of work. If you are physically unable to work that is one thing, you deserve public assistance. But if you CHOOSE not to work.....you are a LOSER and a PARASITE!

PS: I figured our county officials had to have been on something illegal for a while. They had to be, to approve the river-crime-dale style strip malls, apartments and cluster homes. Are you sure you didn't see any ne'er-do-well PTC council people in on that drug activity??

Submitted by dollaradayandno... on Thu, 01/01/2009 - 11:24am.

Yeah, and George snorted and smoked and drank heavily---it shorted him sense. His Daddy had to remind him once that he was a BUSH, not a bum!
Also, Bill Clinton didn't inhale once.

Submitted by Nitpickers on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 3:57pm.

The only effect these minor busts make is to raise the price on the street! Which is what the drug people want.

If one estimates the amount of such drugs consumed in the USA against the amount confisticated by cops (mostly federal work) it is a very, very small percentage.

We make more meth right here in the USA, by far, than is taken in by the feds in these busts.

The cartels are glad to share the cash and drugs that are found by the cops. The amount is so small!

As long as we keep taking the drugs it will be available at some price!

However, it is a small potatoes thing in comparison to cigarettes and alcohol problems!

It is good publicity for the cops, however.

DarthDubious's picture
Submitted by DarthDubious on Fri, 11/14/2008 - 2:50am.

Most previous posters here cannot see the forest for the trees, as they have been brainwashed by the media machine.

The "War on Drugs" (WOD) is a dismal failure. Here are a few things you may consider:

Fact: Alcohol prohibition was a failure that created the first organized crime syndicates, leading to more crime and gang wars between rival families. Also it labeled those who wanted to indulge in moderation, or socially as criminals.

Fact: Drug prohibtion is a failure, and has perpetuated the organized crime created in the 20's and created far more gangs, and produced far more crime in the streets than alcohol prohibition ever did. And like its predecessor the "WOD" labels those who want to indulge in moderation or socially as criminals.

Fact: When Nixon began the "WOD", the addiction rate of the nation was an average of 3%. Today the addiction rate is, drum roll please: 3%. The "WOD" has stopped nothing and has only wasted more money and created more criminals.

Look at it this way, some people are going to become alcoholics, and some are going to be addicts. Nothing we can do to stop it, so why waste the money on it? At least this way doses would be consistant and OD victims would decrease.

All drugs should be made legal. When this happens the big drug companies will take away the global power of the illegal cartels, and the street gangs in the US WILL DIE OFF. Then it would be regulated and TAXED like alcohol, available only to those over 21.

In Liberty,


Submitted by sathyan on Fri, 11/14/2008 - 1:01am.

The federal law should be made strict so that those who have the drugs or smuggle it would get a maximum punishment.

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Submitted by Arnold on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 1:43am.

I am new to this site. I want more information regarding this article. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

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timada's picture
Submitted by timada on Tue, 09/30/2008 - 6:28am.

I agree with suggarfoot, even if I find life prison more humane then the death penalty. We really have to do something about these drug dealers who indirectly kill your children by selling them crack or destroying teenagers’ lives so much that even a drug rehab won’t save them anymore

Submitted by julie on Sat, 08/16/2008 - 11:45pm.

Money should be taken by the government and severe action has to be taken against the people who are involved in doing these illegal activities, these drugs are harmful to the people and also to the growth of the nation. All the weapons and drugs found should be disposed.



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Submitted by stubrummen on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 5:37pm.

What bothers me about these drug busts is that they always end up leading down to the guys on the streets, they rarely manage to pin something on the people who are actually behind all of this. Watch the documentary Cocaine Cowboys to see the extreme of this.

Stu/ California Drug Rehab

Submitted by compiknews on Tue, 04/22/2008 - 4:43pm.


hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Tue, 04/22/2008 - 4:45pm.

Need to send the pharmacist here back to the spam world he came from.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by gordman on Wed, 01/16/2008 - 12:13pm.

O my God! This is the first time I see how ten million look like including drugs and guns. This makes me think about the true force of the real influential drug dealers and gun traffickers. How can simple people face them? The truth is that they can't really face them, that's why we see so many desperate addicted people.
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ilockemup's picture
Submitted by ilockemup on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 1:09pm.

One problem I have with these drug busts is the lack accountability of the funds and property seized. The money does not go to rank and file law enforcement like with raises. That is prohibited. What does happen, though, is that some of the stuff seized is passed out to people that are not even in law enforcement. For example, secretaries at the courthouse and the DA's office get cars. It seems to me that all of this stuff should be sold and the money should go to the County.

Submitted by emtjason on Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:57pm.

Money should go to the county and agency that helped in arrests/raids, i'm sure they get some of it, the drugs get burned and guns get decommissioned/cut up into pieces, at least that's how it is where i'm from. Deporting the dealers isn't going to solve this problem not the least bit. And the border agents arrested for shooting a smuggler was just crazy if you ask me, their doing their job keeping drugs from entering the country and keeping dangerous drug smugglers from coming in as well. Illegal or Citizen when you enter this country our laws apply. Lock the drug dealers up after trial and lets not worry about sending them back. There are enough people in drug treatment centers and addicts still needing help.

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Submitted by swmbo on Sun, 08/17/2008 - 8:47am.

There's a good reason that the law does not allow the proceeds from drug busts to pay salaries, bonuses or to go into the county's general fund. Although our public safety personnel is not likely to misbehave, the fact is that there are some law enforcement officers who would use that as an incentive to plant drugs on people or worse. I mean, even without the current requirements for the use of drug bust proceeds, we have all heard of certain members of law enforcement doing a little "pre-Christmas Shopping" by stopping low-level street dealers and taking their money (to have a nice Christmas for their wife/girlfriend and kids) without making a bust. Although I have no sympathy for the dealers, that is not appropriate behavior professional law enforcement officers engage in (not to mention that it's illegal).

So, just be happy that Fayette law enforcement has some of the best equipment to do its job. Anything that makes a job easier is not a bad thing. That's what the proceeds of drug busts should be used for.

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

Sniffles's picture
Submitted by Sniffles on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 1:49pm.

Secretaries at the courthouse and DA's office are getting cars?

Are you sure about that? That's really hard to believe!

Submitted by d.smith700 on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 1:45pm.

You certainly surprised me with that zinger!

Secretaries "getting" cars? I assume you mean confiscated cars?
How on earth do they get a title? Just "government car?"

Many piles of stuff like shown in the photo never get to the bank. Handfuls and bags full disappear.

Do they also sell those vicious looking automatic guns? Can I get one?

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Tue, 12/11/2007 - 9:22pm.

As long as all we do is deport drug dealers, it is a win win deal. I feel strongly that illegasl caught moving drugs should face the death penality and see how quick it drys up! Wake up! they are selling death to our kids!

Submitted by tanyaa on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 9:43pm.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican troops seized a small submarine smuggling drugs in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, the military said.
A navy plane spotted the craft about 140 miles south of the tourist resort of Huatulco, setting off a three-hour chase, Rear Adm. Hector Mucharraz told Reuters.
The green-colored submarine, carrying what was believed to be cocaine, was about 32 feet long and appeared to be a makeshift or modified vessel.
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Submitted by casseysmith on Tue, 09/30/2008 - 4:06am.

Drug is a slow Poisson. Government and other welfare groups are taking steps to rehab the drug.

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Submitted by harry2008 on Sat, 11/15/2008 - 6:54am.

A drug, broadly speaking, is any chemical substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function.[5] There is no single, precise definition, as there are different meanings in medicine, government regulations, and colloquial usage.
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