In two unrelated incidents on consecutive days, agents from the Multi Agency Narcotics Squad arrested four suspects on charges related to selling methamphetamine.
On Wednesday, Aug. 17, agents arrested Salomon Gomez Duarte, 46, of Gainesville and Ricardo Rivera-Duarte, 24, also of Gainesville. The two men are not related, said Lt. Scott Ware of the Gainesville-Hall County narcotics squad.
Both suspects are illegal immigrants and were placed on immigration hold. Both were charged with trafficking methamphetamine. Rivera-Duarte was also charged with not having a driver's license.
After receiving a tip regarding drug trafficking, agents with the MANS, Gang Task Force, Hall County Sheriff's Office Uniformed Patrol Division and a federal agency conducted a drug investigation that resulted in the arrests in the 3500 block of Southers Road in Gainesville.
A search warrant was conducted at the suspects' home and led to the discovery and seizure of 16 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and over $17,000 in cash. The street value of the drugs was estimated at $716,800.
"That's one of the bigger (drug busts) I can recall probably at least in the past year or two," Ware said.
The seized drugs and money were turned over to the federal crime lab.
In a separate incident, the MANS arrested two more illegal immigrants following an alleged attempt to sell methamphetamine.
Jose Adrian Garcia-Gutierrez, 19, of Norcross, was charged with criminal attempt to distribute methamphetamine, use of a communications device to facilitate a drug transaction, no driver's license and providing false information to an officer.
Juan Carlos Zuniga, 20, also of Norcross was charged with providing false information to an officer. Both suspects were placed on immigration hold.
The suspects were arrested in the 6000 block of Devonshire Drive in Flowery Branch after they attempted to deliver meth to a pre-determined location.
"Basically there was a series of texts back and forth between an undercover agent and these guys and they were going to deliver approximately a quarter pound of methamphetamine to a specific location," Ware said.
The suspects were charged with providing false information because they attempted to conceal their identities from law enforcement agents, Ware said.
All four suspects were booked into the Hall County Jail and await an appearance before an immigration judge.