Following a yearlong, multi-agency investigation of two drug trafficking organizations, five South Cobb men and nine others have been indicted and arrested on charges of trafficking narcotics from Mexico and laundering the drug money.
During the course of the investigation of both narcotics trafficking rings, a total of $1.6 million, multiple kilograms of cocaine and crystal methamphetamine were seized.
“The indictment of these 14 defendants is a step toward making Atlanta a safer community,” stated U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates in a release.
According to Yates and the information presented in court, in January 2011, federal law enforcement officers began investigating a Mexican cocaine and marijuana drug trafficking organization operating in Metro Atlanta.
The organization allegedly used several distributors, brokers and couriers to supply wholesale quantities of cocaine and marijuana onto the streets of Atlanta and elsewhere. During the course of the investigation of this group, approximately 8 kilograms of cocaine, 75.6 kilograms of marijuana and $800,000 in cash were seized.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman ordered that all nine defendants of this group, which included 41-year-old Alejandro “Patino” Maldonado and 32-year-old Jay “Borrego” Hernandez-Santana, both of Mableton be detained.
The second group of defendants, suspected to be part of a Mexican crystal methamphetamine drug trafficking criminal organization operating in metro Atlanta, was made up of three South Cobb men and two others.
The men– Domingo Najera-Perez, 60 of Mableton, Alejandro Santana, 45 of Mableton and Luis “Neco” Santabanas of Austell– face charges for various offenses including conspiracy, trafficking methamphetamine and laundering drug money. Their detention hearing is Wednesday, also with Baverman.
Rogelio “Roy” Benetiz, whose residence is unknown, has also been charged in connection with this second group.
However, Santana and a fifth defendant, Ivan Najera-Suazo of Mexico, have not yet been arrested and are believed to be in Mexico, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Anyone with information about their whereabouts should call the U.S. Marshals Service 24-hour number 1-877-WANTED2 (1-877-926-8332) or the DEA Atlanta Field Division at 404-893-7000.
The investigation and prosecution of this case is a multi-agency effort of the David G. Wilhelm OCDETF Strike Force, which is comprised of Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the United States Marshal Service (USMS), working with other state and local law enforcement agencies.