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Feds: Father of slain teen tied to drug network

ATLANTA — Federal authorities have tied Nicholas Jackson Sr. — the father of a Norcross teen fatally shot during a February home-invasion that shocked the city — to a network of drug traffickers, according to an indictment released Friday.

Jackson, 38, is named with eight other defendants in a four-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury July 25. It alleges Jackson and others possessed at least five kilograms of cocaine and 50 kilograms of marijuana and intended to distribute the drugs for profit in North Georgia and elsewhere at various times last year.

Charysse Alexander, U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman, said Jackson and others are scheduled for a detention hearing Monday morning before a U.S. magistrate in Atlanta.

“We expect additional facts will be introduced during that hearing,” she said.

Alexander said eight of the nine defendants are in custody. Prosecutors weren’t sure Friday who Jackson’s attorney will be. He was represented at his initial appearance by a federal defender but that is expected to change by Monday, Alexander said.

None of the suspects named in the federal indictment are among the seven men charged in the killing of Jackson’s son, Nicolas “Nick” Jackson II, 15, a middle-school valedictorian and football player at Norcross High School.

In addition to Nicholas Jackson, the indictment names the following defendants, many of whom have aliases: Alejandro Maldonado; Eduardo Renteria-Maldonado; Jay Hernandez-Santana; Jose Luis Cano-Pacheco; Aly Lozano; David Gomez; Darren Dunlap and Jesus Uriel Celis-Pineda.

On Feb. 2, Nick Jackson and his sister were home alone when six men stormed their family’s residence on Autry Street. Investigators believe the teen was barricading the door to his basement bedroom when six shots were fired. He died after being shot through the heart.

The killing was the first in Norcross city limits since 2009.

Norcross police assisted DEA agents with the elder Jackson’s arrest Wednesday. Authorities have not said if there is a link between the federal charges and the teen’s slaying.

Six suspects were arrested leaving the Jackson’s home and charged with burglary and murder. The rented van they were riding in was allegedly filled with ski masks, latex gloves, duct tape and handguns. None of them were Gwinnett County residents.

Authorities also recovered about $19,000 in cash in the van, though the elder Jackson told police that only about $600 — money his son had stashed away from chores and birthdays, he told police — was missing from their home. In an earlier hearing, a detective testified that a small amount of marijuana was found in the basement.

A seventh suspect was arrested in April and charged in the killing, though police said they don’t believe the 31-year-old Atlantan participated in the home-invasion.

County land records list a previous address for the elder Jackson on Caribaea Trail in southwest Atlanta. One Norcross city official said Jackson was thought to be in the construction industry.

More than 2,000 mourners attended Nick Jackson’s funeral in February, where Alabama State University’s head football coach proclaimed him an honorary team member and student, after hearing that he hoped to play there one day.

An award for excellent students at Hopewell Christian Academy, where Nick Jackson graduated atop his eighth-grade class, will bear his name.