Defendants sentenced in largest Smyrna methamphetamine bust ever

Smyrna police headquarters in article about methamphetamine bustSmyrna Police headquarters (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

The U.S. Department of Justice announced in a press release yesterday that three defendants were sentenced in U.S. District Court in connection with Smyrna‘s largest methamphetamine seizure ever. The arrest was arranged by federal agents, and carried out by members of the Smyrna Police Department SWAT team.

The charges involved nearly 40 kilograms of 100 percent pure methamphetamine.

The arrest was made by an undercover agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta-Carolinas High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.

The agent made arrangements for the purchase of the methamphetamine by telephone on April 10, 2019.

The DOJ press release describes the arrest as follows:

At the time and place of the arranged meeting, defendant Alejandro Salazar-Gama met the undercover agent and agreed to bring the drugs to the parking lot to show the undercover agent before selling the drugs to the agent. Alejandro Salazar-Gama left the parking lot and returned about 40 minutes later. Shortly afterwards, a van arrived driven by defendant Arturo Acevedo with defendant Miguel Salazar-Gama as a passenger.

When the undercover agent went inside the van, he/she opened one of the boxes located inside the van and saw that the box contained methamphetamine.  At that time, the City of Smyrna Police Department SWAT team surrounded the three defendants and arrested them. In total, the drugs weighed more than 39 kilograms and subsequently tested positive for methamphetamine at 100 percent purity. Law enforcement officers believe that this is the largest quantity of methamphetamine ever seized in the City of Smyrna.

The press release described the sentencing:

The three defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr., to the following:

  • Alejandro Salazar-Gama, 31, of Sandy Springs, Georgia, has been sentenced to 11 years, seven months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.  Salazar-Gama was sentenced on June 17, 2020, after he pleaded guilty.
  • Arturo Acevedo, 22, of Sandy Springs, Georgia, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Acevedo was sentenced on September 15, 2021, after he pleaded guilty.
  • Miguel Salazar-Gama, 29, of Sandy Springs, Georgia, has been sentenced to three years in prison. Salazar-Gama was sentenced on September 15, 2021, after he pleaded guilty.

“Methamphetamine trafficking breeds violent crime and threatens our community,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “We and our law enforcement partners are working hard to combat the trafficking of methamphetamine into and through the Northern District of Georgia, and we will use every tool available stop it.”

“Methamphetamine poses a clear and present danger to our communities,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy. “Because of the collaborative effort between DEA and its law enforcement partners, citizens of the Smyrna, Georgia community can sleep better at night knowing that these defendants will spend well-deserved time in federal prison.”

“This should be a shot across the bow to criminal elements intent on distributing their poison in our communities.  Law enforcement agencies in North Georgia are united and determined in keeping our communities safe,” said Dan Salter, Director of the Atlanta-Carolinas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).