2 guilty pleas for flying 173 lbs. of cocaine into PTC airport

Wed, 01/13/2010 - 10:14am
By: Cal Beverly

Defendants face mandatory minimum sentences of at least two decades

Jorge Olivo, 24, of Roswell, Ga., and Rene Perez, 32, of San Marcos, Texas, both pleaded guilty in federal court in Newnan Jan. 12 to felony charges of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute 173 kilograms of cocaine that had been couriered by flight from Texas to the Peachtree City’s Falcon Field airport.

Olivo also pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and to possessing a weapon in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard said of the case, “I am proud of the cooperation on this case between local and federal law enforcement agencies. It is comforting to know that there are multiple layers of protection for the citizens against drug smugglers.”

On Aug. 29, 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Atlanta received information regarding a plane that would be arriving that day at Falcon Field airport (KFFC) in Peachtree City, according to Acting United States Attorney Sally Yates.

Agents observed the Cessna aircraft land at Falcon Field and then saw the pilot and two passengers, including Rene Perez, exit the plane and offload several bags from the aircraft.

Agents maintained surveillance as Rene Perez and the other passenger were dropped off at a local Best Western hotel along with the bags that had been removed from the plane.

Approximately one hour later, another vehicle arrived at the Best Western hotel driven by Jorge Olivo. Agents observed Olivo place the same bags into the vehicle outside. Olivo then left the hotel area in the vehicle after the bags had been loaded.

Peachtree City police then attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle operated by Olivo, but Olivo observed the marked police car approaching and fled the scene at a high rate of speed.

After a lengthy chase that ended near the Piedmont Fayette Hospital on Ga. Highway 54, the police apprehended Olivo and searched the vehicle.

The search revealed several bags containing approximately 173 kilograms (over 380 pounds) of cocaine. Olivo was also found to be carrying a .38 caliber handgun on his person at the time of the stop.

Jorge Olivo, Rene Perez, and others were indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 7, 2009. Olivo pleaded guilty today to three counts of the indictment. He could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Perez pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of the indictment. He could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

In determining the actual sentences, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Sentencing for Olivo and Perez are scheduled for March 23, 2010, at 10 a.m., in Newnan, before United States District Judge Jack T. Camp.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Fayette County District Attorney’s office.

Assistant United States Attorney David E. Suchar is prosecuting the case.

Acting United States Attorney Yates said, “Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to fight the influx of dangerous drugs into our community. The drugs transported by these defendants could have damaged thousands of lives. Vigilant law enforcement prevented this from happening. Now these defendants face decades in prison.”

“Traffickers who seek to use Atlanta as a transshipment point for their narcotics will face the same fate as Olivo and Perez,” said Kenneth A. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Atlanta. “This investigation is the result of the continued cooperation with our law enforcement partners to target narcotics smuggling and money laundering organizations operating in and around Atlanta. The success of this investigation is the direct result of the excellent work and cooperation between ICE, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office, the Peachtree City Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office.”

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Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 7:03am.

They have the right to seize it and probably should. Sheriff already has a helicopter. So by default PTC Police should get it. Be pretty useful in patrolling the cart paths or getting ahead of high speed chases.

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 3:18pm.

Seize it sell it and split the profits. Or keep it, share it and let local officials use it to party like rock-stars.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 8:17am.

Get rid of the darn thing. The "do-gooder Guv" has decreed that tetra-ethyl lead laced aviation gasoline - that this airplane has an incredible appetite for - will no longer be produced in a few short years.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

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