published Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Agents seize drugs, guns, deport 28 in Alabama

by Andy Johns


Seized: “Numerous” guns, body armor, $15,000 cash, one pound of methamphetamine

Arrested: Jose Guadalupe Garcia-Garcia, Jose Martin Garcia-Garcia, Luis Matus Cruz, John Lee Owen Wilbert, Hector Favian Tafolla, Valente Lopez

Deported: 28 people to Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador

Source: DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office

A collection of law enforcement agencies has arrested six men and recovered drugs, money, guns and body armor in what authorities call an ongoing investigation in Northeast Alabama.

Authorities arrested Jose Guadalupe Garcia-Garcia, Jose Martin Garcia-Garcia, Luis Matus Cruz, John Lee Owen Wilbert, Hector Favian Tafolla and Valente Lopez, according to a news release issued Friday by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials said some of the arrests stemmed from an investigation Wednesday in which agents used a drug-sniffing dog to find a pound of methamphetamine “ice” at a home. The street value of the recovered meth is more than $30,000, according to the release.

Agents said they also found “numerous” weapons, body armor and $15,000 in cash.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris called the suspects “major players” in the area.

“It has been our goal to attack the dealers and traffickers to help slow the use of this drug,” Harris said. “Today’s results are a positive indication we are having success.”

Federal Homeland Security agents also arrested 28 people who will be deported to their countries, including Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, the release stated.

Area law enforcement officials said there has been an influx of meth from Mexico since laws in the United States have made it tougher to manufacture locally.

The team of agencies involved included the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, police officers from Albertville, Sylvania and Collinsville and sheriff’s deputies from DeKalb, Etowah and Marshall counties.

Raymond Parmer Jr., special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations for the region, praised the agencies’ cooperation.

“Together, we can effectively remove dangerous gang members and their associates from the streets to make our communities safer,” he said in a release.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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MS-13 style of drug operation. Law enforcement at all levels most at once start stepping it up on the street beat before it gets like Los Angeles county.

March 5, 2011 at 4:02 p.m.
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