A north Georgia methamphetamine bust helped Cherokee County authorities carry out a similar operation earlier this week.
Detectives with the Dalton Police Department earlier this week nabbed two suspects for trafficking, and evidence in the case helped authorities in Cherokee to make their own arrest on Monday, Lt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee Sheriff's Office said on Thursday.
On Sunday night, Dalton authorities seized roughly $190,000 in crystal meth, which occurred after an investigation that spanned more than a month by the agency's Drug Unit, investigators with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and Georgia State Patrol.
Dalton investigators received a tip that Chatsworth resident Angela Elezan Lovian, 36, was allegedly planning to travel from Cherokee County to Dalton with the drug in tow. The investigators received the tip after a month of tracking the drug in the Dalton and Murray County area.
During its surveillance, Dalton asked the Georgia State Patrol to conduct a traffic stop of Lovian's vehicle near near the intersection of Walnut Avenue and Dug Gap Road.
Baker said Lovian gave Dalton authorities consent to search the car and K-9 dog that specializes in sniffing out narcotics alerted on the vehicle. A search ensued and investigators found 4.3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine hidden in an appliance box. The street value of the drug is believed to be around $190,000.
Along with Lovian, passenger Richard Lee Long, 51, of Chatsworth was also arrested.
Lovain was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine. Long faces possession of methamphetamine and trafficking in methamphetamine charges.
Baker said information obtained during that investigation was handed over to the GBI and the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad, or CMANS. That evidence led to the execution of a search warrant on Monday, which yielded roughly 1.6 pounds of methamphetamine — valued at $80,000 —, a sub-machine gun and nearly $64,000 in cash.
Three Acworth residents were charged with trafficking methamphetamine and weapons offenses in relation to Monday's raid: William Cuellar, 42, charged with trafficking methamphetamine and possession of firearm by a convicted felon; Tatjana Jaric, 21, charged with trafficking methamphetamine; and Victor Martinez-Gonzales, 39, charged with trafficking methamphetamine.
All three suspects remain in custody at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center with no bond.
GBI, CMANS and the Polk County Drug Task Force also executed search warrants and seizures in Cedartown.
Investigators with the Georgia Department of Corrections also conducted similar searches inside two prisons that resulted in the seizure of contraband cell phones. The operations broke up a network of meth traffickers, which was allegedly controlled and directed by at least one inmate in the prison system.
The multi-county investigation is being coordinated by the GBI and CMANS agents continue to gather information in relation to Cherokee County, Baker added.