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Drug Cartel Members Associated With Buford Stash House Sentenced

Fifteen cartel members sentenced in operation that nets over $23 million in drug proceeds including a $4.7 million drug money exchange witnessed at the Mall of Georgia and a stash house near Hamilton Mill Road.

A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) known as “Operation Four Horsemen” has resulted in the seizure of 567 kilograms (1,247 pounds) of cocaine and over $23 million in laundered drug money in the Atlanta area.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said the DEA and other agencies followed the drugs and the money that were being moved by a Mexican drug trafficking and money-laundering cartel.

The investigation, which began in 2007, uncovered two Mexico-based drug trafficking cells in the Atlanta area. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the cells received large shipments of cocaine that arrived in tractor-trailers from Mexico. After the drug traffickers received the cocaine, they subsequently shipped millions of dollars in U.S. currency back to Mexico by hiding the money in tractor-trailers and other vehicles.

Several of these transactions took place in Gwinnett County. In January of 2009, DEA agents witnessed Eduardo Antonio Moreno-Rosales, 27, of Mexico hand over $4.7 million in U.S. currency to Juan Alberto Garcia, 36, of Cordele, Ga. The transaction took place at the Mall of Georgia. Garcia was later stopped when traveling on I-75 in Henry County and the money was seized.

In July of 2009, agents executed a search warrant at 2971 Hollow Mill Lane in Buford and seized $51,000 in U.S. currency. Moreno-Rosales was using the Buford home as a “stash house” for drugs and money. Moreno-Rosales was stopped by the Georgia State Patrol on July 7, 2009 while attempting to transport 21 kilograms of cocaine to North Carolina. A few hours later, agents executed a search warrant at his Buford home and discovered another 77 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the trunk of a vehicle parked in the attached garage. The Hollow Mill Lane home is located off Hamilton Mill Road near its intersection with Camp Branch Road.

The following month, agents seized $179,978 in U.S. currency from a Lawrenceville residence. The Beeblossom Trail home was also being used as a stash house. Agents found 130 kilograms of cocaine inside the residence.

Several other large drug seizures were also made in Gwinnett County. In March of 2008, five kilograms of cocaine were seized during a traffic stop in Gwinnett County near the I-85/I-285 interchange. In August of 2008, 79 kilograms of cocaine were seized during a traffic stop of a vehicle on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

“These defendants thought that they could use Atlanta as a base of operations for their drug trafficking and money laundering operation,” Yates said in a released statement. “But the DEA and other cooperating law enforcement agencies strategically followed the drugs and the money, picking off the criminals who were part of the scheme and the drugs and money that flowed from it.  These law enforcement agencies are to be commended for their efforts in dismantling this organization and taking tens of millions of dollars worth of poisonous drugs and dirty drug money off our streets.” 

Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said the law enforcement community will not tolerate the drug trafficking activities of Mexican cartel operatives.

“In this investigation, DEA and its law enforcement counterparts used every necessary tool to take away 1,247 pounds of cocaine and over $23 million in drug proceeds. The subsequent prosecution and sentencings would not have been possible without the spirited cooperation between our federal, state and local law enforcement colleagues and the U.S. Attorney's Office,” he said. 

The investigation also included drug and money seizures in Laredo, Texas. In total, the operation resulted in the seizure of 973 kilograms of cocaine, 1,445 kilograms of marijuana, and over $31 million in drug proceeds.

The head of the Atlanta-based cartel cell, 29-year-old Oliver Maciel-Macedo of Mexico, was sentenced to 16 years, eight months in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Other defendants have been sentenced as follows:

  • Ulises Giocochea-Solorio, 41, of Alpharetta, was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. 
  • Eduardo Antonio Moreno-Rosales, 27, of Mexico, was sentenced to 14 years and seven months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. 
  • Roberto Carlos de los Santos, 35, of Mexico, was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
  • Jose Antonio Ayvar-Soberanis, 43, of Tulsa, Okla. was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
  • Juan Alberto Garcia, 36, of Cordele, Ga. was sentenced to nine years and four months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
  • Alejandro Sanchez-Morales, 26, of Mexico, was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. 
  • Jose Edenilson-Reyes, 39, of Katy, Texas, was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. 
  • Jose Lombera-Monje, 34, of Mexico, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. 
  • Osmin Zumaya-Azuara, 39, of Penitas, Texas, was sentenced to six years and six months in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release. 
  • Eduardo Javier Bernal, 33, of San Antonio, Texas, was sentenced to six years and six months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. 
  • Eleazer Hernandez-Valdez, 45, of Mexico, was sentenced to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. 
  • Jose Luis Morales-Samano, 38, of Mexico, was sentenced to four years and six months in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.
  • Erika Delrosio Palomino, 24, of Duluth, was sentenced to two years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. 
  • Jimmy John Silva, 32, of Lawrenceville, was sentenced to one year and six months in prison followed by one year of supervised release. 

The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance by the Georgia State Patrol, the Lawrenceville Police Department, and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

MIGHTYRED September 16, 2012 at 06:01 PM
WOW! your body has the ability to know "LEGAL" from illegal drugs?.Wow because statistics suggest that it's the middle class Caucasian female that keeps that multi trillion dollar drug ring going.Notice that most of them men selling meth are "LEGAL" residents?.Your ignorance is the more frighting aspect of all the post's and articles here.I bet you think raped women have the ability to spontaniosly arbort as well?HUH? WHAT?
w September 18, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Cynthia, did you see that more than half arrested are from the states? Just because they have hispanic last names does not make them any less American than you. The drug problem is an American problem, but it needs to be handled properly, and not by racially pointing fingers!
Your progressive neighbor September 19, 2012 at 02:00 AM
As you can see here, unfortunately it's self-righteous people like Cynthia finger pointing at the thugs with foreign names, who also scream the loudest about her issues with IMMIGRANTS...er, I mean illegals. By the way, What makes "Melendez" any more likely to be an "illegal's" name than "Montgomery"? There's no such thing as an American name. We have to act intelligently to resolve America's problems and not act out of fear and ignorance. Try it.
Cynthia Montgomery September 19, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I watch the Patch to see what is going on in my community. I am please to now see that the Patch will now list those held for another agencies, those held for non appearance and also those held for immigration issues. Please come to this country and find the American dream, all you who are weary and in need of a better life BUT selling drugs to my neighbors and their children is not the type of neighbor I want no matter their last name. Selling Drugs is not the American dream. For you to turn a blind eye to the problem of drugs is not saying much about your mindset. Illegal or legal, I have never known one person that has said, YES DO DRUGS! Doing drugs has made me the success I am today. Once again I find that liberals will not address the topic but are quick to name call and find fault the writer. It is hard for a person to admit wrong when they are involved in it. I do not let mean, name calling, angry people stop me from commenting on things I want to see changed in my community. I do not want drugs in our community as they fracture families, deplete families of their money for attorneys and court cost and the bring other illegal acts into the community. Sorry to upset your thought process but I welcome anyone into our county who comes here legally and with the mindset to become an American, no matter the last name. No self righteousness, just a common sense person who realizes that drugs are not the answer to anyone legal or illegal. Name calling is no answer!
Cynthia Montgomery September 19, 2012 at 02:47 AM
W, I did not make up the list but I did notice the name and home countries of those who were arrested. I did notice some were from Mexico & their contacts were here in America DUH! To turn away or to turn a blind eye while blaming a fellow citizen is weak at & best contributory as well. it seems that neither you or Jessica would make a very competent law official because you are blinded by names and politics. The politics of drugs is families addicted, families in chaos, families failing, families with damaged children, and money that could be spend on positive community needs going to ridding the community of drugs. What are you really upset with, it is really that all arrested had non traditional names because it that is your issue just stated tune and you will see more traditional names next week!

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