Federal agents seized more about $7 million in drugs and cash and arrested three men in the largest heroin bust in metro Atlanta's history, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.
Bardomiano Renteria-Salazar, Carlos Soto-Pineda and Rafael Lee-Ochoa are accused of being members of the Mexican drug cartel known as La Familia.
Agents seized 86 pounds of heroin worth about $6 million, two pounds of methamphetamine, an AR-15 assault rifle and a 45-caliber handgun from a home on Megan Road in Duluth, the DEA said.
They also confiscated $2 million at another undisclosed location.
"I don't believe we've had a larger heroin seizure in the history of the city," said Harry Sommers, special agent in charge of the DEA in Atlanta.
Sommers said the three men his agents arrested played a large role in the rise of heroin use in metro Atlanta.
"They're selling these drugs all over the metro area. They are very dangerous," Sommers said.
Tommy Tran, who lived next to the home that was raided, could not believe the news when CBS Atlanta told him his neighbors are accused of being members of a dangerous drug syndicate.
"Wow! Drugs around here. That's not good at all," Tran said.
Heroin use had dropped over the years because of the stigma attached to intravenous drug use and fears of contracting HIV. Heroin has made a big comeback recently because dealers have been able to distill more pure and potent forms of the drug, allowing addicts to get high more easily by smoking or snorting it," Sommers said.
"We've seen our seizures over the last four to five years double and then double again," Sommers said. "It's something that is being marketed by the traffickers to those people who have an abusive problem with pain medication."
The men arrested are being held at the Gwinnett County Jail.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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