News Release
November 22, 2006
Contact: Ruth Porter-Whipple

Operation Kentucky Thunder

NOV 22 -- Atlanta - At a press conference today, Sherri F. Strange, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta Field Division, announced the culmination of Operation Kentucky Thunder, a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency drug trafficking investigation that targeted a poly-drug trafficking organization operating in Atlanta, Georgia, Louisville, Kentucky, Chicago, Illinois, and Indianapolis and Clarksville, Indiana.

Concealed compartment operated by hydraulics.
Concealed compartment operated by hydraulics.
Concealed compartments operated by hydraulics.

SAC Strange said that during yesterday’s early morning hours, search warrants and arrest warrants were executed simultaneously throughout the states of Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Here in the metro-Atlanta area, DEA with its state and local law enforcement partners executed five federal search warrants in Gwinnett and Barrow Counties yielding approximately 63 kilograms of cocaine, 58 pounds of “Ice” methamphetamine, approximately $85,000 in cash, a fully automatic AR-15 assault rifle, two handguns, and eight vehicles - three of which had sophisticated concealed compartments that operated via hydraulics.

Atlanta’s investigation began in August 2006 with information from the DEA Louisville, Kentucky office. That lead indicated that targets of an active Louisville investigation were sending the proceeds from their drug transactions to the greater Atlanta area. The subsequent local investigation revealed a major Mexican poly-drug distribution cell operating in the metro-Atlanta area for approximately a year and a half that supplied multiple states. DEA Atlanta pursued the investigation in conjunction with DEA offices in Louisville, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois, the Barrow County District Attorney’s Office, Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Clayton County Police Department, and Doraville Police Department.

Concealed compartments operated by hydraulics. Concealed compartments operated by hydraulics.
Concealed compartments operated by hydraulics.

DEA SAC Strange commented, “Law enforcement officers execute search warrants every day throughout this nation, and it is always walking in to the unknown. Yesterday, finding an AR-15 assault rifle in fully automatic mode on the other side of the door was an eye opener. Atlanta’s portion of Operation Kentucky Thunder exemplifies the point that needs to be expressed over and over…..drug traffickers are a danger to the community, they’re well armed, and becoming more violent. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to be relentless in the pursuit of those that attempt to poison our children and rob them of their promising futures. Our citizens are entitled to the peace of mind knowing that their families and community are safe.”

The criminal complaint filed today by the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Georgia charged the following individuals with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846 and 841(b)(1)(c).:

  • Miguel Angel GONZALEZ, age 20
  • Rafael GARCIA-Nunez, age 33
  • Arnulfo NUNEZ-Villanueva, age 26
  • Mauricio MEDINA-Mojica, age 26

The four charged defendants make their initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge C. Christopher Hagy today. A fifth defendant, Susana Maribel CORDOBA-Galino, age 23, is currently being held in state custody.

Members of the public are reminded that the complaint contains only charges. The defendants are presumed innocent and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

For further information please contact DEA Group Supervisor Ruth Porter-Whipple at the DEA/Atlanta Office at (404) 893-7128.