News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2006

Defendant Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for 174 Pounds of Crystal Methamphetamine

APR 14 -- Atlanta, GA - VICTORIANO VEGA-JIMENEZ, 42, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was sentenced late yesterday by United States District Judge Orinda D. Evans on charges of conspiring to distribute 174 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. VEGA-JIMENEZ was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. VEGA-JIMENEZ was convicted of these charges by guilty plea on January 25, 2006.

"This case is the largest crystal meth seizure in Georgia history and demonstrates that massive amounts of ‘ice’ are being distributed in our community," said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias. "We hope that the sentence in this case sends a clear message that those who distribute methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs will face significant jail time."

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: Agents acting as part of an ongoing investigation seized the crystal methamphetamine from two residences located in Lawrenceville on March 7, 2005. Subsequently, VEGA-JIMENEZ was arrested on a charge of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

Agents watched VEGA-JIMENEZ attempt to deliver five pounds of suspected crystal methamphetamine to a residence in Duluth, Georgia on March 7, 2005. The agents arrested VEGA-JIMENEZ and seized the suspected drugs. The agents searched VEGA-JIMENEZ’ vehicle and found a drug ledger for the period of February 19, 2005, to March 6, 2005, that documented the distribution of 134 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and the collection of approximately $766,000 in payments for the drugs. The agents also found that VEGA-JIMENEZ’ vehicle was equipped with two hidden compartments that were activated electronically and typically used to hide drugs and money.

After VEGA-JIMENEZ’ arrest, the agents searched two residences located in Lawrenceville that were associated with him. At the first residence, agents found an additional 169 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and $80,000 located in two vehicles parked at the house. Inside the house, agents discovered approximately $700,000 in cash hidden in a false compartment in a wooden chest, a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and two loaded semi-automatic handguns. A second ledger found in the residence revealed that the drug-trafficking organization had distributed over 1,000 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and received $10,000,000 in drug payments between August, 2004 and March, 2005. At another residence associated with VEGA-JIMENEZ, the agents discovered approximately $150,000 in cash. Agents also searched a safety deposit box associated with Vega and seized another $200,000 in cash.

Previously, the largest "ice" seizure in the Atlanta area was approximately 125 pounds of crystal methamphetamine that was seized by DEA Task Force agents in DeKalb County on January 27, 2005 along with 9 kilograms of cocaine, after a controlled delivery originating in Brownsville, Texas.
This case was investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force Agents.
Assistant United States Attorney Kurt R. Erskine prosecuted the case.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the following web site: www.justthinktwice.com.