F’ville participates in drug seizures, receives $79,615

Tue, 05/13/2008 - 3:43pm
By: Ben Nelms

F’ville participates in drug seizures

All it took was a handshake with Fayette County Sheriff Randall Johnson for Fayetteville Police Chief Steve Heaton to walk away with $79,615.51. But that was the easy part.

Fayetteville’s participation in Fayette County Sheriff’s Drug Task Force (DTF) and their efforts in a December 2007 raid in Atlanta was what made the city’s portion of the seizure cash award possible. Heaton received the check at a brief ceremony Thursday at the sheriff’s office, with DTF agents looking on.

Operation Shooting Star began in October 2006 as Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents from the David G. Wilhelm Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Group 1 in Atlanta set out to break up a Mexican-based drug trafficking group operating in the metro area. The organization’s operations included smuggling methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

Evidence seized during a two-day period included 111 kilograms of cocaine, 17 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, approximately $10 million in cash and at least 32 firearms. Nineteen search warrants were executed during the operation and 35 arrests were made.

“Anytime a large amount of narcotics is seized in the metro Atlanta area it directly affects Fayette County as these drugs are distributed to our community,” said Sheriff Johnson. “If these drugs can come to Atlanta from as far away as Mexico some 2,000 miles away it is expected that they will be on our streets and in our neighborhoods.”

That position was validated in mid-2007 when DTF agents seized two pounds of “ice” methamphetamine at Banks Crossing shopping center in Fayetteville. Later that evening, the man they arrested led agents to another pound in Clayton County.

Part of a larger shipment, the ice had come to Fayette and Clayton counties by way of Gwinnett County after being shipped directly from Mexico.

It is no secret to law enforcement, and to Mexican drug cartels, that metro Atlanta has become the drug capital of the eastern United States.

DTF is made up of agents from Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police and Tyrone Police.

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