Man charged in connection to national cocaine trafficking ring

ATLANTA — The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested a Duluth man who was indicted in June on charges of trafficking cocaine.

Juan Manuel Santana Baez, 38, is one of 12 alleged members of a national cocaine trafficking organization and is facing charges related to a large-scale, 18-month investigation code-named “Operation Holy Trap.” He was arrested Thursday.

The organization is believed to have been overseen by a Boston-based drug dealer, who agents say used vehicles outfitted with hydraulic concealed compartments, or traps, to smuggle multiple kilograms of cocaine and hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the United States. Baez is believed to have worked in an Atlanta auto shop installing the traps in load vehicles.

If convicted, Baez faces a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment, as well as fines of more than $10 million dollars.

In addition, a criminal complaint has been issued against Hector Ramon DeJesus, 67, of Lawrenceville, charging him with conspiring to traffic over five kilograms of cocaine.

To date, investigators have seized more than 70 kilograms of cocaine and approximately $1,000,000 in drug money.