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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2004


RECORD BREAKING DRUG and MONEY SEIZURE

seized drugsSEP 16- Sherri F. Strange, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Atlanta Field Division, announces the arrest of four individuals along with the seizure of approximately 249 kilograms of cocaine, 70 pounds of methamphetamine, and $4.6 million in cash. A fifth individual is being sought. The operation was a culmination of the joint efforts of the DEA, the Douglas County Felony Interception Narcotics Detection (FIND) Unit, and the Marietta Cobb Smyrna (MCS) Task Force.

On September 11, 2004, a tip on a suspicious tractor-trailer led agents and officers of the DEA, the FIND Unit, and the MCS Task Force to a warehouse located at 5800 Riverview Road, Mableton, Georgia. Continued surveillance of suspicious activity at the warehouse led agents to question individuals present at the warehouse on September 13, 2004. With consent, a search of the warehouse was conducted resulting in the discovery and seizure of a large sum of money, approximately $4.6 million. The suspected drug proceeds were hidden in a false compartment within the refrigerated unit of the aforementioned tractor- trailer. Continued investigation resulted in the identification of a nearby house at 5937 Brookside Drive, Mableton, Georgia. A state search warrant was issued for this residence resulting in the seizure of approximately 249 kilograms of cocaine and 70 pounds of methamphetamine. The methamphetamine was in the form of “Ice”, which is known to be a very powerful, high grade or pure form of methamphetamine.

As a result of this investigation, four individuals have been charged with trafficking cocaine by the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office:

Jaime Angel Torres, DOB 07-09-1966, Mexican national
Juan Ibarra-Acuna, DOB 02-02-1957, Mexican national
Francisco Sanchez-Benitez, DOB 03-26-1986, Mexican national
Alejandro Benitez-Lopez, DOB 06-18-1970, Mexican national

A fifth individual has been charged but has not been arrested. He has been identified as Juan Carlos Acuna-Ortiz, DOB 08-31-1981. Anyone having information as to his whereabouts is requested to contact DEA at telephone number 404-893-7000.

According to SAC Strange, “This is the largest single seizure of cash and drugs ever made in the metropolitan Atlanta area. DEA is especially concerned about the large quantity of Ice. DEA compares Ice to methamphetamine as crack is to cocaine, with the exception that Ice is ten times more powerful, and therefore ten times more addictive. Recent studies of drug treatment admissions in the metro Atlanta area have indicated that cocaine and crack abuse are decreasing, while methamphetmine abuse is increasing.”

While these individuals have been charged in relation to these seizures, the public is reminded that all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Please contact Ruth Porter-Whipple, DEA Public Affairs Officer for questions, telephone number 404-328-5300.

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