Chivis Martinezz Borderland Beat TY Gus source
ATLANTA — A tour bus parked in
Rockdale County usually doesn’t draw a lot of attention, but on a spring day in
March the bus, and a nearby tractor trailer, drew enough suspicion from law
enforcement officers that they called in the local fire department.
The ceiling of that Mexican tour
bus didn’t look quite right, so firefighters pulled out a tool similar to the
Jaws of Life and cut into the roof of the bus — revealing an enormous haul of
Channel 2 investigative reporter
Mark Winne obtained the exclusive video of agents and firefighters working to
cut through the roof of the bus and the enormous stash found inside. Once the
Drug Enforcement Agency totaled it up, they found 2,000 pounds of meth.
Special agent-in-charge Robert
Murphy says the amount of drugs found in the bus and the nearby truck
underscore Atlanta’s role as a hub for drugs run by Mexican cartels. The
majority of meth was tucked into the tractor trailer, about 865 kilograms of
the 900 kilogram total, but all of its was hidden.
“Both these tags were from
Guadalajara, the tourist bus and the tractor trailer. That’s how comfortable
and brazen they are,” Murphy said.
The bust is part of Operation
Crystal Shield, a months long program run by the DEA, FBI, and Homeland
Security in nine U.S. cities that serve as hubs for the cartels. The Georgia
State Patrol helped with the metro Atlanta investigation.
Murphy says several arrests have
been made in the case and the drugs were destined to be shipped up and down the
east coast, but much of it would stay in metro Atlanta.
Another video provided to Winne
from the DEA shows a mammoth meth conversion lab in metro Atlanta discovered in
February. The lab is used to convert smuggled liquid into crystallized meth.
Enough drugs to keep 2 million people high for 12 hours, agents said.
Agents say Operation Crystal has
yielded 530 arrests, 6,000 pounds meth, $9 million in currency and 116 firearms
in just Georgia and the Carolinas.