Forsyth County Business Yields 200 Kilos Cocaine &
(Atlanta, GA) - PAUL LEE LONGORIA, 35, of Cumming, Georgia; and JESSIE STEVE URBINA, 39, and EDWARD LOPEZ, 40, both of Alamo, Texas, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. LONGORIA and URBINA appeared before a United States Magistrate in Atlanta today. LOPEZ is expected to make an initial appearance at a later date.
According to the charges, and other information presented in court: LONGORIA, URBINA, and LOPEZ allegedly conspired to distribute large quantities of cocaine, using the “Crown Fence Company” warehouse located in Forsyth County, Georgia, as an off-loading facility. The alleged conspiracy involved the shipment of cocaine from Texas, by way of tractor-trailer rigs, to the Crown Fence facility, which is owned and operated by LONGORIA. The cocaine, hidden under cover-loads of refrigerated vegetables, was off-loaded at the warehouse. Cash was then loaded onto the truck and returned to Texas as payment for the drugs.
On May 3, 2007, DEA Atlanta Field Division agents and Forsyth County deputies seized approximately 200 kilograms of cocaine from the warehouse. Approximately two weeks earlier, as part of the same investigation, drug agents had intercepted and seized approximately $3 million dollars on its way to Texas from the Crown Fence warehouse. LOPEZ is alleged to have directed the loading of a cocaine shipment in Texas. URBINA is alleged to have driven a cocaine shipment from Texas to the Crown Fence warehouse, and LONGORIA is alleged to have supervised and participated in the off-loading of cocaine at the warehouse. LONGORIA and URBINA were arrested on May 3, 2007. LOPEZ was arrested on May 8, 2007.
The indictment charges one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million dollars.
DEA Atlanta Field Division Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson stated, "Drug trafficking is a business that specializes in spreading pain and misery, but like any business it requires a constant flow of revenue to thrive. I'm proud to say that DEA and the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office partnered to combat the drug scourge by taking the poison off the streets, but also delivered a gut shot to the traffickers by removing the coveted cash."
“This case is another example of metro Atlanta’s growing role as a drug distribution and profit-collecting point, and shows that drug dealers are becoming more sophisticated, using seemingly legitimate businesses as fronts for their illegitimate activities,” said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias. “Our office and law enforcement officials must continue working tirelessly to root out drug activity and stop this growing problem.”
Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton said, “This investigation has revealed how significant criminal organizations have infiltrated our community. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is happy to work with DEA and other law enforcement agencies to rid the metro-Atlanta area of these drug trafficking organizations.”
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the DEA’s Atlanta Division Office and Deputies from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department. Valuable assistance in this case was provided by the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles. Assistant United States Attorney G. Scott Hulsey is prosecuting the case.