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Massive drug pipeline from Mexico to Georgia, all ran from prison, busted

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    ATLANTA (WGCL) — A sophisticated system pumping deadly, liquid meth from Mexico to metro Atlanta, run by a dangerous crime ring here in Georgia, has been taken down, for now at least.

CBS46 dug through the 166-page indictment detailing the disturbing July bust, as a task force took down an operation that sounded like something straight out of a movie.

Investigators spent more than a year getting their ducks in a row, calling it a major enterprise of men, women, cartels, and crooks already booked inside the Georgia prison system.

Agencies called it “Operation Taking Care of Business”.

Here’s what they cleaned up:

48 arrests
50 kilos of meth
½ kilo of heroin
20 weapons

“If you ever watched the movie Breaking Bad, it’s very true to life”, says GBI Assistant Director John Melvin. “It comes in a crystal form, and then they essentially cook it.”

After it’s piped into Georgia and cooked into crystals, the meth flows through counties by means of a prison broker system, investigators say; prisons here in Georgia with ties to cartels, with inmates carrying out the transactions.

Investigators told CBS46 that street-level dealers will often use inmates to broker deals using contraband cell phones.

“With the onset of things like Zelle and Venmo, that is how money is getting transferred on the books. It’s no longer a hand-to-hand exchange”, says GBI Assistant Director John Melvin.

The arrests are not a permanent fix, says Jeff Breedlove, the former political insider and chief of staff for a Dekalb county commissioner.

Breedlove is also a recovering addict, having been arrested in 2016 during a hotel bust. CBS46 covered that story, fast-forward to now, Breedlove works for the Georgia Council of Substance Abuse.

“The problem with drugs getting into the hands of anybody, especially young people, is it can impact their lives forever”, Breedlove said. “The answer is always going to be at the federal, state and local level – funding for peer-led recovery programs.”

GBI Assistant Director John Melvin explained the operation’s success, “I know this from experience; when you take down large numbers like this, you actually make a dent in the market. If you only do one person or two people at a time, they’re just going to be replaced as soon as you get them off the streets.”

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