A tip led regional drug agents to what the the sheriff called a “likely” record amount of methamphetamine and a working lab which required hazardous materials handlers’ assistance in Paulding County Wednesday.
A total of 96 kilograms of finished meth and an additional 140 kilos of unfinished meth were found in a vehicle and inside a residence at 809 Williams Road in Dallas, said Sgt. Ashley Henson of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Jorge Menera, Daniel Duarte Landa and Dominquez Marcio Vazquez on federal charges of Possession With Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Henson said.
More charges are likely as the investigation continues, he said.
Agents with the Haralson-Paulding Drug Task Force, which is overseen by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, “got a credible tip of drug activity” occurring at the residence in unincorporated Paulding County Tuesday, June 25, Henson said.
“Agents immediately launched an investigation into the incident. Paulding deputies and (task force) agents conducted surveillance on the residence in order to gain a better idea of what was occurring,” Henson said.
At about 9:15 a.m. the following day, June 26, the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. Team along with task force agents executed a search warrant at the residence, Henson said.
“Just prior to that, deputies with our Uniform Patrol Division and K-9 Unit conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that had just left the residence which resulted in a brief foot pursuit and the subsequent arrest of a suspect,” he said.
“A search of the vehicle revealed approximately 40 kilograms of methamphetamine. A short time after the traffic stop and just before the search warrant was executed, two males left the residence on foot and were shortly thereafter taken into custody by Paulding deputies,” Henson said.
The S.W.A.T. Team then executed the search warrant but did not locate anyone inside the residence or a barn on the property, he said
“They did locate what appeared to be an active, clandestine methamphetamine conversion lab inside the residence,” Henson said.
“The operation had methamphetamine in all stages of production,” he said. “Due to this fact Paulding County Fire/Rescue (hazardous materials) units responded to the scene.”
Task force agents then contacted the federal Drug Enforcement Administration for assistance “due to the magnitude of this operation,” Henson said.
“As a result of their joint investigation, it was discovered that more than 56 kilograms of methamphetamine and 140 kilograms of unfinished methamphetamine was located inside the residence.”
Sheriff Gary Gulledge said, “This is an excellent example of what happens when state, local, and federal agencies work together.”
“I want to make sure everyone knows that if you see suspicious activity around your neighborhood to give us a call so we can investigate,” he said.
“This is the largest amount of methamphetamine that I have ever seen in my career and likely the most that has ever been seized in Paulding County.”
The Haralson-Paulding Drug Task Force consists of officers and deputies from the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, Haralson County Sheriff’s Office, Dallas Police Department, and Tallapoosa Police Department and is overseen by a GBI Assistant Special Agent In Charge.