Butts County S.O. seizes 52 pounds of meth in traffic stop

BCSO Meth

Photo courtesy of the Butts County Sheriff’s Office

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

A traffic stop conducted Tuesday by the Butts County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the seizure of just over 52 pounds of methamphetamine and the arrest of two women.

According to Sheriff Gary Long, the traffic stop was executed by the Interstate Crime Enforcement (ICE) Unit.

“Back in the day in was drug interdiction, but the whole nature of what they do now has changed,” Long said. “Today, it’s all went to criminal interdiction and yes, they recognize criminal indicators that would lead a reasonable person to believe something else is there.”

Long said the ICE Unit is responsible for the recovery of abducted children and multiple identity theft busts, but what they are seeing with increasing frequency is methamphetamine trafficking.

He recounted speaking to the Butts County Rotary Club in 2007.

“Back then, one ounce of gold was $1,250 per pound. Meth was also $1,250 for meth per ounce. It’s now about $200 per ounce,” Long said. “The Spanish cartels have flooded Atlanta because Atlanta is the old Miami. What you now have is every addict can be a drug dealer.”

Low-level dealers now often possess greater quantities of meth because it is so inexpensive, he explained.

“We haven’t put all the pieces of this puzzle together (in this case), but we have two females, one is 22-years-old and the other is also in her 20s. One lives in Alpharetta and the other says she lives in Atlanta – she said she is homeless, but moved there from Charlotte, which is also a primary hub on the eastern seaboard,” Long said, adding that when the cartels send narcotics across the border, 70 percent is headed to Atlanta. “With the interstate system, they can run all the way up to Maine and all the way down to Florida. In this, the one girl flew to California and picked up the 24 kilos of methamphetamine. She said she put it in a suitcase and flew to Orlando, where the other girl picked her up.”

The methamphetamine was allegedly located during a voluntary search of the vehicle.

“The deputy stopped them for an infraction. When he walked up to the passenger side window and rolled the window down, he immediately smelled marijuana. The female passenger said she had some marijuana on her, so he had her step out of the vehicle. She pulled a bag out of her pants with less than an ounce of marijuana, so based on the smell of marijuana and her being in possession, that was probable cause to search the vehicle. The deputy still asked for consent to search, though, and the driver consented.”

Long said effort was taken to prevent the drugs from being detected.

“It was vacuum sealed and around that was axel grease with coffee grounds poured over that, and then it was shrink-wrapped altogether. The goal was to mask the odor from the dogs,” he explained.

The narcotics were contained in 24 individual kilogram packages which were divided among the women’s two suitcases, which also contained their clothing.

Long estimated the street value of the seized methamphetamine is approximately $200,000.

“Our team has had a stellar year this year. They’ve seized probably around $800,000 in cash this year, too,” he said.

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