0

Police crush drug ring
Rare heroin, guns found in Lawrenceville home; 9 arrested

LAWRENCEVILLE - Around here, a kilo of black-tar heroin is a gold-mine bust for officers determined to keep the toxic, almost gooey narcotic off metro Atlanta streets.

Add to that more than 40 pounds of cocaine, a whopping 270 pounds of marijuana and a cache of firearms - and you've got yourself a drug-enforcement heyday.

"A full kilo of black-tar heroin - it's a little unusual," said Gwinnett police Maj. Bart Hulsey. "We don't see that in Atlanta."

Police on a four-pronged investigation recently tracked the $3.7 million drug supply to a Lawrenceville home. Police said Tuesday they hope the Oct. 3 bust will thwart drug channels in Gwinnett and neighboring counties.

According to an affidavit, undercover officers made a drug deal with occupants of a home at 2621 Waverly Hills Drive. Investigators moved in and arrested nine people suspected of selling or buying the drugs. The heroin was packaged for distribution in a refrigerator, records show.

The home that housed the drug inventory is tucked in a subdivision off Herrington Road between two busier thoroughfares - Old Norcross Road and Cruse Road.

Alongside the drugs, police found $13,000 in cash, five handguns and an SKS assault rifle. They also impounded six vehicles believed to be involved in the operation.

The bust was the fruit of a joint investigation by four area agencies - Gwinnett's drug enforcement task force, Doraville police, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and a Drug Enforcement Administration strike force.

Hulsey said the group has seized more than $53 million in illegal narcotics this year.

"When you get this massive amount of dope, the good news is it hasn't been sold," Hulsey said.

Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said the pile of guns, cash and drugs won't sit idle for long: It'll be used as evidence in upcoming court hearings.

"After all of the suspects' cases are disposed of in court, the drugs and guns will be destroyed," Spellman said.

She said a judge could award any cash or vehicles to the Police Department's special operations account. After that, the vehicles "may be sold to auction or used by our undercover officers," Spellman said.

Each person arrested at the Waverly Hills Drive home faces drug and weapons charges, Spellman said. All nine suspects and their home addresses are listed as follows:

Miguel Serna-Figueroa, 2621 Waverly Hills Drive, Lawrenceville.

Florentino Cabrera-Sanchez, 1337 Lennox Park Place, Gainesville.

Roberto Garcia-Ramos, 5510 N. Norcross Road, Norcross.

Roberto Sanchez-Mandujano, 1337 Lennox Park Place, Gainesville.

Sergio Gomez-Ramos, 1337 Lennox Park Place, Gainesville.

Melvin Roberto Sanchez-Nunez, 3223 Buford Highway, Atlanta.

Eleazar Penaloza-Ramos, 5510 N. Norcross Road, Norcross.

Raymundo Jesus Estrella-Coronado, 1245 Lendl Lane, Lawrenceville.

Ruben Rios-Barajas, 1205 Indian Trail Road, Norcross.