Convicted Marietta meth trafficker will get at least 25 years

A hidden compartment in a Chevy Impala used for smuggling drugsSecret compartment in an Impala used to smuggle drugs (photo courtesy of the Cobb County District Attorney's office)

Florentino Hernandez Jr., of Marietta, who was convicted on November 21 by a Cobb jury in Superior Court of trafficking meth, operating a vehicle with a secret compartment and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, will be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison when the sentence is handed down by Judge Kellie Hill.

The date of sentencing has not been determined.

A press release from Kim Isaza, Public Information Officer for the office of Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, describes the investigation and arrest as follows:

The charges stem from the afternoon of Feb. 4, 2016, when Hernandez, who lived in Marietta at the time, was driving a blue Chevrolet Impala north on Sandtown Road near Powder Springs Road.

MCS narcotics and intelligence agents had previously been notified by federal authorities that Hernandez and others were believed to be involved in high-level transportation and distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine. Local agents then spent several months tracking, surveilling and investigating Hernandez ahead of the traffic stop.

During the stop, a K9 alerted on the vehicle, and agents then searched the Impala, finding a trap between the rear passenger seats and the trunk that contained more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of more than $120,000, in various stages of production. During the stop, Hernandez had a loaded Glock 17 handgun in his waistband and a 31-round magazine in the small of his back.  

“This was a violent, sophisticated organization that imported and distributed large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine across the metro Atlanta area,” said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jason Saliba, who prosecuted the case. “Thanks to the hard work of the agents involved, this poison did not reach our streets. The thorough investigation ensured that the drug trafficking organization was dismantled.”

The public information release further states:

The investigation also led to execution of a search warrant the same afternoon as the traffic stop at a Windy Hill Road apartment, in Smyrna. That search yielded more than 50 grams of cocaine in the possession of Melvin Osbeli Lopez, now 33, who is also charged in the same indictment as Hernandez. A bench warrant is active for Lopez’s arrest, after he failed to appear at a pre-trial hearing while on bond.

The investigation was conducted by the Marietta Cobb Smyrna (MCS) Organized Crime Task Force.