Hefty load of marijuana stashed in Athens warehouse

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ATHENS, Ga. -- International drug cartels that use Atlanta as a major narcotics distribution hub apparently have expanded into Athens, according to documents filed this week in federal court in Texas.

A tractor-trailer loaded with more than half a ton of marijuana left McAllen, Texas, on Feb. 17, and three days later arrived at a warehouse in an undisclosed part of Athens, according to an affidavit signed Monday by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

At the warehouse, several men transferred 1,227 pounds of pot from the truck and packed it into a U-Haul cargo van, the affidavit states.

They didn't know that the tractor-trailer driver was working for ICE agents, who watched every step of the way.

A Georgia State Patrol trooper followed the cargo van from the warehouse, but the driver started to flee and the van crashed on Interstate 20, where the occupants ran and left behind the marijuana, the ICE agent's affidavit states.

The affidavit was used to charge an El Paso nightclub owner, Jesus Daniel Guerrero, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

ICE called Mr. Guerrero a key player in an international drug-trafficking operation that has shipped loads of marijuana from El Paso to cities across the nation, using Atlanta as a primary stop.

Atlanta is a major narcotics distribution hub because Interstate 20 connects with Interstate 85, which makes its way to Interstate 95 which passes through major cities along the East Coast, according to John Comer, associate special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Atlanta field division.

"Obviously, Atlanta is situated where it serves the major end points on the East Coast, like New York, D.C., and Baltimore," he said.

Drug traffickers are "opportunists" who will branch out to neighboring counties, like Athens-Clarke, when it suits their needs, according Agent Comer.

"Athens is close enough to Atlanta

where (cartels) will feel comfortable doing business in Athens," the DEA agent said. "If there is a warehouse available in Athens, they will use it."

Agent Comer didn't know about ICE's investigation that led from Texas to Athens. Neither did members of the Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force, according to its supervisor, Athens-Clarke police Lt. Mike Hunsinger.

But local officials have seen drug-trafficking organizations reach into Athens.

Last June, drug task force members teamed up with ICE agents to raid a home on North Bluff Road, where they arrested five suspected Mexican gang members and seized drugs and forged identity documents.

Lt. Hunsinger would not say how much drugs were seized, but officers found enough methamphetamine to make a federal trafficking case, he said.

Police arrested three suspected Mexican drug traffickers a year earlier, in November 2007, after authorities intercepted 22 pounds of marijuana destined for a vacant house in West Athens where the suspects were waiting.

Investigators searched the house on Sunset Drive and found evidence that led them to 20 more pounds of pot at another vacant home nearby, police said.

The fact that the men used vacant houses to receive drug shipments and the pot came from out of state indicated the men belonged to a Mexican drug trafficking organization, Lt. Hunsinger said

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augispos
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augispos 03/13/09 - 08:28 am
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Wow, drug trafficking is

Wow, drug trafficking is spreading even after more than 30 years of our war on drugs? How surprising.

ASU student
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ASU student 03/13/09 - 08:37 am
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Legalize it, let the

Legalize it, let the government grow it, and tax the crap out of it. It will not only make so much money for the US but it will also keep all these people out of jail for this crime.

mrj
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mrj 03/13/09 - 09:26 am
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Not only would sales tax be

Not only would sales tax be collected - but how many jails and prisons would be closed or reduced in size - how many fewer cops, undercover agents, cars, guns, flax jackets, training, court hearings, judges, balifs, court recorders, lawyer fees, etc. would be necessary? This would make for a huge reduction in violence and criminals. This would save astronomical amounts of our tax dollars.

disssman
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disssman 03/13/09 - 09:33 am
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Just a question, but what was

Just a question, but what was the drug that was the starting point for cocaine, crack, heroin, etc, etc, etc? I am not so sure we want a nation of bean heads. Heck look what american idols has done, and you folks want to add to it?

igotmyway
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igotmyway 03/13/09 - 09:34 am
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If you legalize it then law

If you legalize it then law enforcement would not be able to confiscate the drug money or the property of the suspects. They are going to fight tooth and nail to hold on to that golden goose.

joeuser
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joeuser 03/13/09 - 09:43 am
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Okay, then, while we're at

Okay, then, while we're at it, let's legalize prostitution, bank robbery, theft, and oh...I know...let's legalize murder....oh, that's right we already have...it's called abortion, I think.

oldenuff2nobetter
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oldenuff2nobetter 03/13/09 - 09:48 am
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Athens linked to

Athens linked to Lawrenceville. Lawrenceville linked to Mexico. Mexico linked to South America. South America linked to Pakistan. Pakistan linked to Afghanistan. Afghanistan linked to Al Quieda. Suprise! Suprise! Suprise! Does it take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure this out?

142
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Dan White 03/13/09 - 10:25 am
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We must secure the borders

We must secure the borders and send the illegals back. But, it will never happen with the Obama administration. And, Bush failed us too!

drumbeater1
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drumbeater1 03/13/09 - 10:41 am
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oldenuff , that's quite a

oldenuff , that's quite a stretch of the imagination.....but would make a good movie.

jajo1012
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jajo1012 03/13/09 - 12:01 pm
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HAHAHAHA a hundred stoners at

HAHAHAHA a hundred stoners at UGA just lost their buzz and their supplier. Better luck next week! Ironically, the best way to eliminate drug use might just be to legalize it... the government ruins most guilty pleasures, right?

reader54
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reader54 03/13/09 - 12:18 pm
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Dissman: Do you think that

Dissman: Do you think that people who smoke weed didn't use alcohol and tobacco first?

devilishlymad67
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devilishlymad67 03/13/09 - 12:44 pm
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Darn darn darn....legalize it

Darn darn darn....legalize it please?

reader54
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reader54 03/13/09 - 12:58 pm
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Joeuser:Yeah,let's legalize

Joeuser:Yeah,let's legalize prostitution and every other victimless crime ! You do know the difference, don't you ? In fact, legalized prostitution would be a public service. In countries where it is legal, the women are checked out every week. Do you prefer rest areas and truck stops?

LadyCisback
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LadyCisback 03/13/09 - 01:01 pm
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I'd like to know what you

I'd like to know what you people are on ?? legalize drugs!!.. and other crimes.. !! what the heck are you people thinking about!!..

devilishlymad67
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devilishlymad67 03/13/09 - 01:38 pm
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We are on a reality trip.

We are on a reality trip. This is a drug with prescription possiblities that can be used in a healthful manner. This is a drug that was not made illegal until the 1920's and only then due to political pressure. Do not fall for the brain washing of it being a gateway drug or any other crap. This should be controlled the way alcohol is controlled. Maybe like liquor stores you can have marijuana stores, not available at grocery stores or the circle K. Also think of the new businesses and new jobs that would create. The possibilities are endless. Control the same way you control alcohol and it sounds like some of you (my2) might need a toke break! LOL

My_2nd
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My_2nd 03/13/09 - 01:43 pm
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you people are a joke. do you

you people are a joke. do you honestly believe that legalizing marijuana would decrease crime? do you really want a bunch of pot heads driving around town under the influence? alcohol is legal, has crime related to alcohol gone down? has alcohol related anything gone down? americans can't handle the freedoms they have right now, do you really believe they could handle legal weed?

bunch of damn morons!

My_2nd
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My_2nd 03/13/09 - 01:49 pm
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reader54 - there is no such

reader54 - there is no such thing as a "victimless" crime. goof!

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 03/13/09 - 02:00 pm
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Everybody knows that there's

Everybody knows that there's no illicit drug use in Athens- or excessive drinking either, for that matter.

reader54
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reader54 03/13/09 - 02:06 pm
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My2nd: I won't reduce myself

My2nd: I won't reduce myself to name calling but I will say that you are shallow minded. What's legal in one country may be illegal in another. You can't legislate morals. If I smoke pot, then who is the victim? Legalizing pot would decrease crime because then you wouldn't have criminals selling it. The government would sell it so cheaply that the profit that criminals seek would be removed. The "crime" of using it would be removed. The jails would have more room for thieves ,child molesters and violent offenders. As far as driving under the influence, that is already illegal. Think for yourself and don't believe everything that the gov't tells you !

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 03/13/09 - 02:24 pm
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Marijuana and other drug use

Marijuana and other drug use is NOT victimless. Neither is alcohol use. I STILL think all drug use should be legalized, so we can sell it, tax it, and help users get into addiction treatment programs that WANT TO BE HELPED, without them worrying about it being a crime to use the drugs (the stigma). There will still be people that try them, some will never use, some will become drug users, some will become drug abusers, some will seek help, some will need intervention, but that is the case with illegal use as well. If it's legal, there's a greater chance that families won't be in denial, or look the other way, when they see a loved one going astray and even a greater chance that the user will not be in denial himself or herself. The legalization of selling alcohol has been a whole lot better than Prohibition. Pull the rug out from under them! Legalize!

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 03/13/09 - 02:27 pm
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Some people are not affected

Some people are not affected in a negative way by marijuana, but some are. They seem normal in many ways, but they are in an arrested state of development (immature) from the time they get habitual with the weed, throughout their lives. The problem with this is, you never know who is going to be affected that way until it is too late.

reader54
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reader54 03/13/09 - 02:32 pm
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Baroness: Who is the victim?

Baroness: Who is the victim? As far as psycological developement, we are not talking about kids.

Farful
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Farful 03/13/09 - 02:49 pm
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Astute observation, Dr.

Astute observation, Dr. Spinks.

My_2nd
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My_2nd 03/13/09 - 03:49 pm
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reader54 - you don't have to

reader54 - you don't have to reduce yourself any lower than you already are. everything you just said above is complete idiocy. you have no clue! you are right about 1 point though. if YOU grow and smoke pot in your own home and you live with no one else and do not exit your home while high, no one is affected but YOU. in reality though pot heads do NOT think clearly and tend to act completely stupid which leads me to believe you are most likely high right now. but since you are still harping on your opinion that legalizing pot would reduce crime, i will go back to my alcohol comparison. alcohol is regulated by the federal government. how many alcohol related crimes do you think occur on a daily basis in this area alone? you are a moron!

My_2nd
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My_2nd 03/13/09 - 03:51 pm
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baroness - so you think we

baroness - so you think we should legalize all drugs and then help those that get addicted to them? that's such a stupid thought you should be part of the obama administration. and to think people like you are free to walk among normal citizens. geeze!

reader54
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reader54 03/13/09 - 04:04 pm
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My2nd: Are you a child? You

My2nd: Are you a child? You sure debate as though you are. More than likely you are a closed minded Conservative and have no tolerance or understanding of any dissenting views. Like most Conservatives, I guess you feel morally superior. That's your choice and you are free to make it. Have a great life ,

reader54
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reader54 03/13/09 - 04:08 pm
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My2nd;BTW, It's a shame that

My2nd;BTW, It's a shame that you feel that Baroness should have her freedom restricted because she has a differing opinion. My, you are a superior being !

My_2nd
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My_2nd 03/13/09 - 04:38 pm
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nice try moron. is that all

nice try moron. is that all you got liberal zombie?

My_2nd
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My_2nd 03/13/09 - 04:40 pm
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oh btw [filtered word], here's the

oh btw [filtered word], here's the definition of a conservative. i will gladly accept that title.
A conservative is one who adheres to principles of limited government, personal responsibility and moral values.

reader54
314
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reader54 03/13/09 - 05:42 pm
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OUCH! You can go back and

OUCH! You can go back and play with your dolls,little girl.

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