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Clayton, Henry residents part of drug cartel, say feds

A College Park man has been identified as the leader of a drug cell responsible for distributing millions of dollars in cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, according to federal officials.

Raul Valencia, 26, and 17 others are named federal fugitives from Operation G-60. Sixteen other members of the alleged Mexican drug cartel have been arrested. All have been indicted a federal grand jury, officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Valencia led a drug cell of seven dealers — Felix Jose Vargas, 38, of Duluth; Celedonio Estrada, 29, of Morrow; Pedro Pablo Gomez-Rivero, 26, of Morrow; Manuel Zuniga, 20, no hometown given; Jose Vargas, 29, of Morrow; Martin Ayala-Casteneda, 34, of College Park and Jose Sanchez-Valencia, 23, of Stockbridge.

Other locals named federal officials as part of the cartel headed up Adrian Martinez-Montanez, 41, of Mexico, are Jose Valencia, 34, of Stockbridge and Geovany Martinez-Vargas, 23, of Stockbridge.

Yates said agents seized 11 kilograms of cocaine during a traffic stop April 3 in Atlanta; 1,200 pounds of marijuana from a van during a traffic stop Feb. 8 in Gwinnett County; and 1,000 pounds of marijuana from a Stockbridge home June 3. Yates said all three seizures are tied to Raul Valencia's drug cell.

In all, Yates said the combined seizures netted more than $7 million in cocaine, 1,525 kilograms of marijuana and more than $1.5 million in drug money.

"Operation G-60 has dealt a severe blow to the Mexican drug cartels operating in the metro Atlanta area," said Yates. "We will continue our aggressive investigation and prosecution of drug cartels who choose to set up operations in our community."

In addition to a myriad of federal agencies, this case is being jointly investigated the Clayton and Henry sheriff's offices.

The U.S. Attorney's Office recommends a web site for parents to access for more information on the dangers of drugs: www.justthinktwice.com.