An undercover operation led North Georgia investigators to guns, bullets, military helmets and $250,000 worth of high-quality methamphetamine.
Led by members of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, officers arrested five Chattooga County men Wednesday night. Though the investigation is still active and details are still emerging, Drug Task Force Commander Patrick Doyle said the arrests are the result of a months-long investigation.
Officers arrested 32-year-old Felix Moreno Garcia on Wednesday after he agreed to sell an undercover agent some methamphetamine at a Walmart off U.S. Highway 27 in Trion, Ga. Officers also arrested three other people on warrants: 28-year-old Pedro Castro, Jimmy Fowler and Garcia's brother, 33-year-old Fabian Pineda Garcia.
While at the Garcias' home, at 38 Cedar St. in Summerville, Ga., officers also arrested their roommate, 46-year-old Jesus Garcia Mosqueda.
Law enforcement from Chattooga County, Dade County, Walker County, Trion and LaFayette, Ga., were also involved in the arrests Wednesday night. In all, they found about 2 kilograms of "Ice" methamphetamine, a variety of the drug that looks more pure than the type often cooked up in people's backyard.
The methamphetamine is dipped in a solvent. When the solvent evaporates, the drug that stays behind is found in a clearer-than-usual crystal form.
"It's still as garbagey as the rest of it," Doyle said. "It's a marketing technique. It makes it look more appealing to the buyer."
Investigators Wednesday also searched La Marquensita, a convenience store at 13788 U.S. Highway 27. Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader said law enforcement found weapons that were packaged and prepared to ship to Central America.
"It's just your typical little Mexican grocery store," he said Thursday. "It's got a little restaurant and meat market in it."
Doyle said he could not comment on how the store is connected with the men who were arrested.
Contact Staff Writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.