A mega meth lab has been dismantled by law enforcement officials.

On Friday, September 15th, 2017, the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office and the FBI’s North Georgia Major Offender Squad disrupted a methamphetamine trafficking ring in North Georgia.

Officials say a traffic stop of Angel Luis Rivera- Santiago and Victor Rafael Aponte yielded the seizure of 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.  During the subsequent investigation, Lumpkin County authorities and FBI Agents executed a search warrant at 990 Flanders Road, Dahlonega, GA.  Valentine Duarte-Vejar ran from this residence but was capture in the possession of a handgun.  This search warrant yielded a few grams of cocaine and $166,000.  Agents continued to follow investigative leads until a conversion lab was located in Suches, GA.

A conversion lab is used to convert liquid methamphetamine to its crystal form.  Agents located a handgun and 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at the lab.  ARDEO Agents processed approximately 300 pounds of environmental waste largely containing methamphetamine oil.  Agents on scene estimated this lab was capable of producing a minimum of 25-50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at a time.  The Union County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, and Fire Department assisted with safely processing this conversion lab.  This short but effective investigation was a federal, state, and local partnership that disrupted and dismantled a drug distribution network’s attempt to flood our communities with this destructive drug for their own financial gain.  The street value of the 30 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine is $3,234,000.

Angel Luis Rivera- Santiago, 42, of Norcross, Victor Rafael Aponte, 30, of Dahlonega and Valentine Duarte-Vejar, 25, of Dahlonega were charged with trafficking methamphetamine.  Eleoncio Perez-Pineda, 29, of Dahlonega, and Jose Mario Duarte-Vejar, 25, of Dahlonega were later arrested in Dahlonega and charged with conspiracy to manufactory methamphetamine.  These five men were transported to the Lumpkin County Detention Center.  The immigration status of these men is still pending.  Additional charges are pending in Union County.  This investigation continues.

ARDEO encourages citizens to report any suspicious drug activity via IM or at 706-348-7410 or contact your local Sheriff’s Office or Police Department.

The Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office is a multi-agency unit that consists of the following Sheriff’s Offices: White County, Lumpkin County, Towns County, Banks County, Habersham County, Stephens County, Rabun County and Franklin County, along with the Cleveland Police Department, Lavonia Police Department, the Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, the Department of Public Safety,, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

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Jessica Szilagyi is statewide contributor for All On Georgia and Market Manager for Southeast Georgia. Her main focus with All On Georgia is state and local politics as well as agriculture. She’s served as a policy analyst at the State Capitol and as a campaign manager in political races across the state.

She writes for GeorgiaPol.com and has two blogs of her own: ‘The Perspicacious Conservative’, a political blog, and ‘Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers’, a blog on moving from Atlanta to rural Georgia. Jessica is also a contributor for Fox5 Atlanta’s ‘Like it Or Not.’

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