Hall County authorities seized more than 10 pounds of cocaine worth half a million dollars Monday in a "buy-bust" operation, officials announced Tuesday.
Lt. Scott Ware of the Gainesville-Hall County Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad said seven people from Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Dacula and Dalton were arrested in a pair of traffic stops on Monroe Drive in South Hall after they conspired to sell 5 kilograms of cocaine to an undercover operative.
Ware said one of the suspects drove a vehicle with the cocaine hidden in a secret compartment and was tailed by a car occupied by six other suspects.
The men met an undercover operative at a predetermined location in South Hall and were travelling to a second location to unload the drugs when they were pulled over, Ware said.
The suspects agreed to sell the cocaine for $28,000 per kilo, Ware said.
The deal would have involved $140,000, but the street value of the cocaine was estimated at $500,000, Ware said.
It was the largest cocaine seizure in Hall County in at least two years, Ware confirmed.
Four of the seven suspects were in the country illegally and had immigration holds placed on them, Ware said.
Adan Chambu-Balbuena, 24, of Atlanta, was charged with trafficking cocaine. Jose Goicochea-Pacheco, 42, of Dacula, Gabriel Diaz-Caudejas, 39, of Lawrenceville, Carlos Danilo Maldonado, 26, of Lawrenceville, Jonathon Mendez, 23, of Dalton, Rogelio Juarez-Rebollar, 25, of Lawrenceville and Samuel David Rivera, 35, of Lawrenceville, were charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine.