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Feds: Fayette drug agents helped take down Mexican cell

The Tactical Narcotics Team of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office was lauded this week for participating in an investigation that led to disruption of a Mexican drug trafficking organization that operated in nearby Ellenwood.

In three separate incidents involving the cell, agents seized over 900 pounds of marijuana and $1.8 million in cash, officials said.

The investigation culminated Tuesday in the guilty plea of Oscar Morfin Vargas, 29, a citizen of Mexico who was illegally living in the U.S. Vargas pled guilty to federal drug and money laundering charges for distributing more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and returning millions of dollars in drug proceeds to Mexico.

TNT worked with agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Georgia State Patrol and the U.S. Marshal’s Service on the investigation, which included the following according to federal prosecutors:

• On October 3, 2009, DEA agents saw a pickup truck leaving a residence in Ellenwood, Georgia, belonging to Morfin. Georgia State Patrol Troopers conducted a traffic stop on Highway I-20 of the pickup truck, which contained 4-wheel ATV’s, one of which was found with more than $435,000 hidden in its tires. Intercepted telephone communications, some directly involving Morfin, showed his involvement in the incident.

• On October 19, 2009, a Texas-based commercial truck driver drove a rig loaded with approximately 911 pounds of marijuana, hidden in a load of papayas, to a secluded multi-acre residence located in Griffin, Georgia that was being used by the local cell as a drug off-loading site. DEA Strike Force, Marshal’s Service, and Fayette County authorities, seized the marijuana the following day. The tractor-trailer driver, Gilberto Avalos Rivera, was arrested and has been tried and convicted in federal court for transporting the marijuana.  Intercepted telephone communications, some directly involving Morfin, again showed his involvement in this drug incident. 

• The final incident occurred at a residential property in Rex, Georgia, where Morfin was found and arrested on the night of October 19, 2009. Intercepted telephone calls, including those involving Morfin, revealed that he was attempting to hide money in response to the seizure of marijuana that had just occurred at the Griffin property.  When agents arrived at the residence, Morfin provided his consent for agents to search the area.  Forty-four bundles of tape-wrapped money exceeding more than $1.3 million was found in the attic. The packaging was the same as that of one of the bundles seized on October 3, 2009, from the 4-wheel ATV that had left Morfin’s residence. In addition, a Taurus handgun was found in the master bedroom where Morfin had been sleeping. Drug ledgers seized from the Rex, Griffin, and Ellenwood properties confirmed the scope of the drug activity and Morfin’s involvement in managing the local operation.

Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jody Thomas said of the case, “We are proud of our relationship with DEA, and this case is an example of what good cooperative effort between law enforcement agencies can accomplish.”

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Comments

God bless the Fayette County Sheriff's Office for keeping Dekalb, Clayton and Spalding counties free of marijuana!

These years old announcements about the excuse generated for being present somewhere, seems to never be here, so as to share in the money and goods taken, is getting old.

It is kinda like George Bush taking credit for (not fighting) "winning" the two middle-east wars!

Can't you move on?

______________________________________________________________________
Thanks,
Your friendly local teabag supporting, fanatical, right wing, extremest, Christian, party of no, 'enemy', 'hostage-taker', neoconservative, gun and bible clinging, homophobe.

Cyclist's picture

I had to chuckle on that one.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

If marijuana were made legal and it was taxed at say $30 and ounce, I wonder how much revenue it would generate in Georgia.

I wonder how much money is spent on enforcement and prosecution and incarceration for people who are buying, possessing, or selling less than an ounce?

Now combine the two and add the benefit of freeing up jail space for violent criminals.

Now finally, as yourself, which is worse- alcohol or marijuana?

Are we really trying to legislate morality at a very high cost to all of us?

I'm just asking.

______________________________________________________________________
Thanks,
Your friendly local teabag supporting, fanatical, right wing, extremest, Christian, party of no, 'enemy', 'hostage-taker', neoconservative, gun and bible clinging, homophobe.

The criminal justice system in Georgia cost $4.85 billion for 2006. This includes state, county, and local
costs. Here is the breakdown for those costs:<ul>
<li>Police Protection $1.96 billion</li>
<li>Judicial and Legal Services $885.90 million</li>
<li>Corrections $2.00 billion</li>
<li>Total $4.85 billion</li></ul>

.
.

The federal Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) provides a simple way of making a general estimate of the criminal justice costs of drug‐related arrests. Actually, estimating the costs of different types of arrests is a very complicated challenge because of the differences between individual offenses and, for example, the investigative and follow‐up work they require. However the use of a percentage basis method provides a general estimate of the costs associated with marijuana offenses. The method utilized by ONDCP is to (a) calculate the percentage of total arrests accounted for by drug arrests and then (b) apply that percentage to total criminal justice system costs.

There were 535,883 arrests in Georgia in 2006.
There were 36,014 marijuana arrests that year.
This accounted for 6.72% of all arrests in Georgia for 2006.
Consequently, according to this percentage basis method of estimation, <strong>marijuana arrests cost $325.80 million in Georgia for 2006</strong>.

<a href="http://www.drugscience.org/States/GA/GA.pdf">LINK (page 4)</a>

Quite a savings from just decriminalizing pot.

Of course, pot IS the gateway drug of choice to heroin....

NUK_1's picture

Oh well, I guess in the short run it gives a lot of law enforcement jobs, makes probation companies(both govt run and private)rich, and is a real boon to the prison biz.

Bill Bennett was on CNN last night repeating his gigantic lie that "more people are in treatment programs for pot than all other drugs combined" and going unchallenged as usual on this utter BS. This comes from the DEA 10 years ago that has a HIGHLY vested interest in this propaganda that has been totally rebuked by others. The reason in 1999 that 60% of teens had a "pot diagnosis" is that they were sentenced to go to treatment centers because they were arrested for possession. Far and away the highest number of teens(and everyone else) in treatment centers is primarily for ALCOHOL, which IS mentally and physically addictive unlike pot. close to half of all teen violent deaths are attributed to alcohol also.

No politician in California besides a few Libertarians had the guts to publically endorse Prop 19, so it will be a little while longer on legalization there. In the meantime, they can enjoy the worst budget crisis in history for a while longer. Next gov't bailout is likely going to be that entire state.

More people are in treatment facilities for pot because they were more than likely court ordered to do so. Like I have said before you would be amazed at the number of people who smoke pot in this country, and that is all walks...politicians, cops, lawyers, doctors, nurses and yes even judges.

...

Pot is not a gateway drug for Herion....I believe alcohol leads to "other" drug uses more than pot ever has!

You obviously didn't get the sarcasm in Bacon's comment.

Cyclist's picture

a bid to legalized Marijuana. That's a shocker.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

There is so much more violence associated with "drinkers" than there are with the pot smokers!

PTC Observer's picture

Something we can agree on?

What if there weren't ANY laws concerning the use of any drugs by adults?

What would happen to all those drug cartels if we legalized drugs?

Poor mobsters here in the states too, what would happen to all those folks?

What would happen if we stopped losing our police to drug raids?

What would happen if those same police were put to solving and preventing property crime?

What would happen to our streets in ubran areas?

If we taxed drugs, what would happen to our revenue base NET (after health costs associated with drug abuse)

Now here's the downside:

What would happen to our highways?

Can't think of many downsides, maybe ---- What would happen to our children? Don't they use drugs now more than any other demographic?

Thoughts?

you would be amazed at the number of people using pot! I don't understand why they are not going after the meth dealers in Fayette County.

Thank goodness for this great work. eyes rolling....

I'm off to get some Grey Goose for a nice Martini this evening.

Please tell me why this county spends so much time dealing with marijuana, lets just pass a law to make the usage of marijuana legal me I don't use the stuff I don't drink either but I know people who have used before and I have looked into it there is not one case on file where a fatal accident was caused by marijuna, but how many have been cause by beer,wine,liquir to many to count. People think about it my tax dollars and yours pay these officers to protect FAYETTE COUNTY !!! not every other county around us they have their on law enforcement.

If Fayette county schools are so straped for money someone please tell me why each school has so many Custodians this completely a waste of money that could be put to use in other areas of education in our school system.

grittykitty's picture

Seriously. Go after the METH DEALERS. Or even coke dealers.
Pot bust? Give me a break.

the saddest part is these guys will all remain locked up longer than these perverted chid molestors and rapists they catch around here. at least your children won't be smoking pot...

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