LAWRENCEVILLE - Authorities this month uncovered more than a ton of Mexico-grown marijuana stored in a tractor trailer in Doraville, marking a bust likely bound for Gwinnett's record books.
At least five men are behind bars on charges related to the transport of 2,462 pounds of marijuana from Mexico to a suite on Weaver Way, located between Best Friend Road and Buford Highway.
Charged with felony trafficking are: Edilberto Gijon-Jimenez, of Atlanta; Ramon Hernandez-Castro, of Norcross; Gilberty Riviera-Alcaraz, of Lawrenceville, and Jesus Hernandez-Gutierrez, of Sugar Hill.
A fifth man, Pedro Mendoza-Lugo, of Las Vegas, is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime.
It was unclear Monday how authorities were clued in to the massive haul. The five suspects were arrested by Gwinnett police and federal authorities between July 2 and
Saturday, jail records show.
Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said the narcotics unit is in the process of preparing a report. No further information was available Monday, she said.
DEA spokesman Chuvalo Truesdell said the case is "most definitely an ongoing investigation" but referred all questions to local authorities.
The street worth of marijuana varies according to its grade, but most hauls are valued in the $5,000-per-pound range, according to figures provided by police earlier this
year. That would make the Doraville find worth in excess of $12 million.
A Gwinnett police official said the department's record marijuana pinch was worth somewhere north of $10 million, in response to a $7.7 million raid in a Duluth home last July. The weight of marijuana pulled from that residence was 1,718 pounds.
The recent bust has the potential to eclipse the worth of all drug seizures logged by county police just five years ago.
Officials reported roughly $9.5 million in drug captures in 2004. Two years later, the total had spiked to $56 million.