An investigation revealed members of the suspected drug ring used passenger buses set up with hidden compartments to transport what a Homeland Security agent called a “staggering” amount of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine from Mexico into the United States, and directly to the Atlanta area, United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a release Thursday. She said the buses were also used to transport drug proceeds back to Mexico.
“These defendants are charged with using the metropolitan Atlanta area as their hub for the importation and distribution of millions of dollars’ worth of illegal deadly drugs,” Yates said. “As a result of the tremendous cooperation between federal agencies and local law enforcement partners, this drug ring is now out of business.”
Those named in the drug ring are facing federal charges, including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering, Yates said.
Among the accused are Cobb residents Atenogenes Alvarado-Delgado, 35, of Powder Springs; Jose Alvarado-Delgado, 35, of Austell; Jose Antonio Pineda-Maldanado, 22, of Smyrna; Yarely Pineda, 22, of Smyrna; Rubi Torres-Aguilar, 44, of Austell; Alan Arnold Lopez, 24, of Mableton; and Jose Cardenas-Garcia, 48, of Kennesaw, who are all either in police custody or have been located, Yates said.
Yates said Atenogenes Alvarado-Delgado was the Mexico-based leader of this drug trafficking organization, and allegedly conspired with his brother, Jose Alvarado-Delgado, and associates Reberiano Arroyo-Santana of Atlanta and Manuel Arroyo-Delgado Jr. of Atlanta to import large amounts of illegal drugs into the Atlanta area from Mexico.
Authorities are still looking for Arroyo-Santana and Arroyo-Delgado Jr., Yates said.
Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation, including the Cobb County Police Department, Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, Marietta Police Department and the Powder Springs Police Department, Yates’ statement said. Their efforts were noted by Brock D. Nicholson, head of Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta.
“Thanks to a complex and coordinated effort by more than a dozen federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, we have been able to dismantle this transnational criminal network and bring these perpetrators to justice,” Nicholson said.
“Every time we can take drugs off the street, that’s drugs that aren’t going to somebody,” Jason Saliba, the deputy chief assistant district attorney said. “That’s somebody’s wife, someone’s child who won’t ingest drugs or (overdose).”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the website www.justthinktwice.com.