Lawrenceville man sentenced to 20 years in jail for selling meth

ATLANTA - A 42-year-old Lawrenceville man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to distribute crystal methamphetamine Thursday.

Victoriano Vega-Jimenez was also sentenced to 10 years probation to follow his jail stay. He was convicted after pleading guilty in January.

"This case is the largest crystal meth seizure in Georgia history and demonstrates that massive amounts of 'ice' are being distributed in our community," said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias. "We hope that the sentence in this case sends a clear message that those who distribute methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs will face significant jail time."

According to Nahmias and information presented in court, agents acting as part of an ongoing investigation seized the crystal methamphetamine from two residences located in Lawrenceville in March 2005.

Agents watched Vega-Jimenez attempt to deliver five pounds of suspected crystal methamphetamine to a residence in Duluth, arrested him and seized the suspected drugs. The agents searched his vehicle and found a drug ledger for the period of Feb. 19 to March 6, 2005, that documented distribution of 134 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and collection of approximately $766,000 in payments for the drugs. The agents also found this vehicle equipped with two hidden compartments activated electronically and typically used to hide drugs and money.

After Vega-Jimenez' arrest, the agents searched two Lawrenceville residences associated with him.

At the first residence, agents found an additional 169 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and $80,000 located in two vehicles parked at the house. Inside the house, agents discovered approximately $700,000 in cash hidden in a false compartment in a wooden chest, a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and two loaded semi-automatic handguns. A second ledger found in the residence revealed that the drug-trafficking organization had distributed more than 1,000 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and received $10,000,000 in drug payments between August 2004 and March 2005. At another residence, the agents discovered approximately $150,000 in cash. Agents also searched a safety deposit box associated with Vega-Jimenez and seized another $200,000 in cash.

Previously, the largest "ice" seizure in the Atlanta area was approximately 125 pounds of crystal methamphetamine that was seized by DEA Task Force agents in DeKalb County on Jan. 27, 2005, along with 9 kilograms of cocaine, after a controlled delivery originating in Brownsville, Texas.