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Clayton police seize third shipment of Mexican cocaine

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Clayton County narcotics agents seized a shipment of more than 66 kilos of cocaine Tuesday morning, and say it is the third shipment seized from a single Mexican cartel.

The cocaine is worth about $7.9 million on the street, narcotics agents with the Clayton County Police Department estimate.

"At some point, I would think drug dealers would start to get the message," Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner said. "As long as they continue to send it to Clayton County, they will continue to sustain heavy losses."

The cocaine, wrapped in 58 brown bundles, was stored beneath the false bottom of a crate, Turner said, and was being shipped from Laredo, Texas to Lawrenceville, Ga. Employees of an unnamed shipping warehouse thought the crate was suspicious and notified police.

Law enforcement authorities in the region, working cooperatively, believe they have seized $30 million worth of cocaine from the one Mexican cartel, which authorities have not named. Chief Turner said he sees the seizures as a triumph for inter- gency cooperation and community-police cooperation, and he sees it as a victory in the war on drugs.

"The bottom line is, [this cocaine] was going to hit the streets of metro Atlanta," Turner said. "We are crippling somebody's organization by taking this off the street."

Agents said they were pleased to have started off the new year with a big bust, and hoped to continue last year's record-setting performance.

According to Clayton County police statistics, agents seized more than $90 million worth of illegal drugs in 2007, and seized a record amount of cocaine and marijuana.

In 2007, statistics show, county police seized more than 472,000 grams of cocaine, 441 grams of crack cocaine, 3.3 million grams of marijuana.