GA: Police bust meth lab with ties to Mexican drug cartel

South Metro News –

Meth bust leads to discovery of cockfighting ring

South Fulton investigators worked with others from state and federal agencies on the bust, which came after anonymous tips about the drug operation. Officers seized a stolen car, a stolen shotgun and $1,245 in cash. The meth is estimated to have a street value of about $290,000.

“We’ve seen significant activity involving meth and heroin, including overdose cases, in the northern part of the city,” Police Chief Keith Meadows said.

Police say investigators recently found about 35 pounds of meth during a traffic stop on Roosevelt Highway.
Officers executed a federal warrant Tuesday morning at a home on 5359 Stonewall Tell Road, where police say they found four pounds of methamphetamine. While executing a second federal warrant at 5963 Westbrook Road in Union City, police found the 77 pounds of meth along with equipment, including drying racks, used to produce it.

Investigators charged Isidoro Palacious, 59, with trafficking methamphetamine. With federal charges pending, police are working to seize both properties, which belong to Palacious, because of their drug-related histories and ties to the cartel.

“Our area is considered a hub for meth trafficking,” Meadows said. “Interstate 85 is a major route for trafficking between Atlanta and Florida.”

The case comes less than two weeks after South Fulton police broke up a drug “superstore” in a warehouse where dealers gathered to sell marijuana and other narcotics. Sixty-four people were charged in that case, with additional arrests expected.

“We’re taking the necessary steps to drive out drug-related activity,” Meadows said. “The message is clear. If you’re producing or trafficking narcotics, it’s time for you to leave the City of South Fulton.”

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An investigation into a suspected methamphetamine lab led South Fulton police to the discovery of a cockfighting ring, authorities said.

Isidoro Palacios, 59, of McDonough, was arrested and charged with trafficking methamphetamine, according to jail records. Palacios was booked into the Fulton County Jail on Tuesday and remains there on $100,000 bond.

South Fulton police confirmed in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they seized 77 pounds of meth between two locations: a house that contained a lab on Westbrook Road in Union City, and a barn on Stonewall Tell Road that also housed the birds.

According to police, the house on Westbrook Road is owned by Palacios and he is renting the barn on Stonewall Tell Road. They said the meth lab in the home was large enough that it used four clothes dryers in the process of manufacturing the illegal drug.

South Fulton police worked the case with the help of Homeland Security Investigation agents, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Methamphetamine was found inside of a clothes dryer at the lab on Westbrook Road, police said.

“We’re saving a lot of lives,” South Fulton police Lt. S. McKesey said. “It’s a big win for the city of South Fulton that we’re able to get this amount off the streets.”

“I’m really proud of the performance of our people. They were able to uncover this meth lab, actually bust it and shut it down,” South Fulton police Chief Keith Meadows said.

Meth was first discovered in the barn, which also had walls lined with coops that held strutting roosters thought to be used for cockfighting. The raid at that property led to the discovery of the meth lab, police said.

Anti-cockfighting activist Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, applauded the work of the South Fulton police and noted that cockfighting is usually associated with other illegal activities. The practice is also a health and human safety threat, Irby said, providing conditions where diseases like avian flu can jump the species barrier.

Cockfighters will sometimes revive the animals “in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation-like contact so the gamecocks can continue to fight to the death — blood and feathers flying all around,” Irby said.

“The city of South Fulton has the most undeveloped land in the region and it’s easy for people to try and exploit that,” Meadows said. “We’re right here near our airport and so when you have major interstates running through our city, being able to do traffic interdiction is extremely important.”

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