Photo by Jeylin White
Clayton County Police officers with the SMASH unit — that stands for Strategic Methods Against Street Harm — acted on anonymous tip to the Georgia State Patrol and confiscated several packages of “pure marijuana.”
The Clayton County Police Department said it arrested three men early Friday morning, after discovering 4,000 pounds of marijuana worth at least $4 million in their possession.
Deputy Chandi Ashmore said an anonymous tip was made to the Georgia State Patrol, on Friday at 11 a.m., that there was a large quantity of marijuana, in an 18-wheel, tractor-trailer truck.
“It was good information from the anonymous source,” said Chris Butler, Chief Deputy for the Clayton County Police Department.
Ashmore said three unidentified male suspects — between the ages of 30 and 50 — were detained on Circle Parkway, in College Park. She said the street value for the marijuana is approximately $4 million.
“The drugs were found in a hidden compartment inside the truck,” said Ashmore. Butler added the suspect went into custody willingly.
Bruce Parks, co-commander for narcotics, said it took an hour and several narcotics police officers to remove all the drugs from the truck. He added that it was “the third-largest bust” that he’d seen in seven years on the narcotics unit.
“I’ve been doing this for a while,” said Parks.
Parks added there was so much marijuana that the once the police officers opened the truck — the smell was so pungent, that it likely was “pure marijuana” imported from Mexico, which would increase the street value to $7 million.
Ashmore said she is not certain what the suspects were planning to do with the drugs but they are being interviewed as part of an ongoing investigation.
“We are going to pursue the case through the judicial system and work all the leads on the case,” she said.
Parks said he believes the suspects were planning on distributing the drugs throughout the metro Atlanta area. “Once they were through sorting the drugs, and adding to it, they were probably going to sell it for profit,” he said.
Ashmore said the bust was a collaborative effort between the Georgia State Patrol and the Clayton County Police Department.
Clayton County Commission chairman Eldrin Bell, a retired Atlanta police chief, was meeting with Butler on other business Friday, when he heard about the large amounts of marijuana seized.
“I’m happy the drugs are off the streets,” Bell said. “When [Georgia State Patrol] got the information they called on the others to help them pull it all off. I’m very proud of them for that. It’s not about I can do it all but, what can we do about it — and that’s the way it should be.”