Ten members of methamphetamine trafficking operation federally indicted
ATLANTA – Ten members of an alleged methamphetamine trafficking operation that sought to distribute more than $1 million worth of drugs have been indicted in a 13-count superseding indictment on charges of violations of federal drug, firearm, and immigration laws. Seven defendants were arraigned today in federal court.
“Methamphetamine remains a major threat to our community and it continues to be the main illegally-trafficked drug in this district,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “When people enter our country illegally and traffic meth while in possession of guns, they not only spread their poison, they drive violence in our communities.”
“Methamphetamine continues to ravage many communities in our nation,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “Because of the positive results yielded in this case, other methamphetamine traffickers (particularly conversion lab operators) in the Atlanta metropolitan and surrounding areas are being put on notice that DEA, its law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will not tolerate their continued efforts to manufacture and distribute this insidious drug.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: Beginning in July 2017, agents with the DEA and the Atlanta-Carolina High Intensity Drug Trafficking Program (“HIDTA”) began investigating defendant Hugo Solano-Garcia a/k/a Gordo, and his associates in the Atlanta area, for trafficking methamphetamine allegedly smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.
Over the course of the investigation, federal and local law enforcement agents uncovered a series of stash houses and methamphetamine conversion laboratories in two metro-Atlanta counties, DeKalb and Gwinnett, where the defendants would allegedly convert liquid methamphetamine into crystal methamphetamine for distribution, sometimes hiding the illicit drugs in hollowed-out fire extinguishers and car batteries. The defendants barricaded some of these conversion laboratories and guarded them with guns.
Agents raided one conversion laboratory in an apartment in Brookhaven, Georgia on January 30, 2018. In that apartment, they found approximately 65 kilograms of methamphetamine in crystal and liquid form and three firearms.
In total, law enforcement has seized more than 130 kilograms of methamphetamine over the course of this investigation. The drug trafficking conspiracy charge in the indictment names the following 10 defendants:
- Hugo Solano-Garcia, a/k/a Gordo, also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime;
- Victor Pacheco-Solano, a/k/a Pelon, a/k/a Moro;
- Gerardo Calderon-Pacheco, a/k/a Plebe;
- Valentin Solano-Salas, also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime;
- Juan Confesor Camilo, a/k/a Jean Carlos Camilo, a/k/a Tigre;
- Aldrin Barajas-Ramirez, also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and illegal re-entry after being deported;
- Miguel Pacheco-Penaloza, also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and illegal alien in possession of a firearm;
- Octavio Pacheco-Torres, a/k/a Burro, also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime;
- Sair Calderon-Pacheco; and
- Joaquin Reyes-Guillen, a/k/a Aviel Cabrera-Hernandez.
The indictment was returned on March 28, 2018. Solano-Garcia, Gerardo Calderon-Pacheco, Solano-Salas, Camilo, Barajas-Ramirez, Pacheco-Penaloza, and Pacheco-Torres were arraigned on April 6, 2018. Pacheco-Solano, Calderon-Pacheco, and Reyes-Guillen have yet to be arraigned.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Atlanta-Carolina High Intensity Drug Trafficking Program, and the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of State, DeKalb County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Unit, Georgia State Patrol, Gwinnett County Police Department, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas N. Joy is prosecuting 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.gov.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.