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Three arrested on cocaine trafficking charges
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Three Athens men were arrested on drug trafficking charges early Saturday after authorities seized a kilogram of cocaine in an undercover sting operation outside a Gainesville convenience store.

Sgt. Kenny Neece said officers with the Hall County Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad set up a buy-bust for the cocaine, which weighed about 2.2 pounds and had a street value of $98,5000.

Gainesville police assisted in the take down, which occurred about 7:15 a.m. outside the QuikTrip convenience store in the 800 block of West Ridge Road.

Two loaded guns, a 9 mm Smith and Wesson pistol and a .25-caliber Phoenix Arms pistol, were seized from the suspects.

The suspects were identified as Pascual Alberar Gomez, 32, Juan George Hernandez-Barrios, 28, and Miguel Angel Torres-Barrera, 26, all of Athens. Each is charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

It was the biggest cocaine bust in Hall County this year after a relative lull in large-scale seizures. Last year, more than 100 pounds of cocaine was seized by Hall County and Gainesville authorities in several major cases, including 88 pounds in one instance.