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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
August 21, 2006

Atlanta DEA Seizes Record Amount of Crystal Meth and Arrests 4 in Raid

(Atlanta, GA) -The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Atlanta today announced a record seizure of crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) and other quantities of illegal drugs at a house in Gwinnett County. The seizure and arrests were made on August 16, 2005 and are related to a drug trafficking ring operating in the Atlanta area.

The four defendants are: EDUARDO CASTRO TORRES, a/k/a “Damian”; 43, of Michoacan, Mexico, who is also a resident of California; JULIO RUESGA BARAJAS, a/k/a “Julio”, 28, of Santa Ana, California; IGNACIO CASTRO TORRES, a/k/a “Nacho,” 39, of Buford, Georgia; and ENRIQUE MEDINA, a/k/a “Jesus Alejandro Valencia Parra,” and “Medina,” 25, of Madalena, Mexico. All of the four individuals have been charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.

At a news conference this morning, DEA Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Sherri Strange said of the case, “Because of the dangers of methamphetamine, DEA and its law enforcement partners have remained vigilant in our efforts to combat methamphetamine trafficking in metropolitan Atlanta. I am gratified knowing that another significant methamphetamine distribution operation has been eliminated. We will not rest until methamphetamine becomes just another chapter in the history of drug abuse.”

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “This seizure is another stark reminder that the Atlanta area has become a major national hub for drug trafficking activity, including trafficking in the potent methamphetamine that poses the greatest new drug threat to our Georgia communities. The DEA and other law enforcement agents working on this case are to be commended for disrupting a major trafficking organization and for finding an enormous quantity of crystal meth literally buried behind a house in a residential area, along with dozens of kilos of cocaine inside. We will continue to work hard to bring to justice all those responsible for these drugs."

According to Nahmias and the allegations set forth in documents filed in this case: In March, 2006, DEA Atlanta began conducting an investigation of an alleged large-scale Mexican drug ring with members believed to be in the Atlanta area, involving importation and distribution of multi-kilogram quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine from Mexico, moved through California and Texas, distributed into the United States.

On August 16, 2006, at approximately 12:00 p.m., agents established surveillance on 6251 Suwanee Dam Road, in Buford, Georgia, in anticipation of executing a federal search warrant. Throughout that day, agents observed “DAMIAN,” “JULIO,” “NACHO,” and “MEDINA” depart and return to the residence on several occasions. At approximately 10:10 p.m., U. S. Magistrate Judge C. Christopher Hagy signed a search warrant application authorizing the search of the 6251 Suwanee Dam Road residence. Around that time, agents observed MEDINA walk toward the wooded area of the back yard of the residence. While MEDINA walked toward the wooded area, agents observed him putting on work gloves. Upon his arrival at the wooded area, MEDINA stopped, pulled out a flash light, and illuminated the area where agents were positioned. Upon seeing the agents, MEDINA immediately began to run back toward the residence to alert the other people at the residence. Agents then observed MEDINA, JULIO, and DAMIAN run from the back of the residence away from them. At that point, several agents pursued MEDINA, JULIO, and DAMIAN in a foot chase, while other agents approached the residence and executed the search warrant. Agents eventually caught and apprehended MEDINA, JULIO, and DAMIAN outside of the residence.

After securing the occupants of the residence, agents began to conduct the search. During the search, agents seized approximately 41 kilograms of suspected cocaine and in excess of 187 pounds of suspected crystal methamphetamine inside large duffle bags. The duffle bags were inside approximately 6 large trash cans which were buried underneath the ground in the same wooded area that MEDINA had approached while putting on work gloves.



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