by: Tom Regan Updated:DALTON, Ga. —
Authorities say they busted up an international methamphetamine distribution ring that was directed by inmates serving time at a Georgia state prison.
"It was actually being controlled by and coordinated by at least two inmates in the Georgia Department of Corrections. They controlled the operation through the use of cellphones the inmates obtained that had been smuggled into the prison," said Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent in Charge Ken Howard.
The crackdown began Sunday night, when police in Dalton arrested a man and woman and seized over four and a half pounds of meth with a street value of $190,000. After obtaining leads from that arrest, the GBI and Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad raided a home on Elwin Ragsdale Drive in Acworth Monday.
"When we went inside the residence, we found 1.6 pounds of meth, $63,000 and a MAC-10, which we believe is a machine gun," said Cherokee Multi Agency Narcotics Squad Commander Phil Price.
Price told Channel 2's Tom Regan the rented house was a stash house for large shipments of drugs arriving from Mexico.
'This is not a street-corner sales operation. These are individuals who were moving significant amounts of methamphetamine," Price said.
Authorities arrested three people in the raid at the Acworth home. The GBI said the Georgia Department of Corrections helped to identify inmates participating in the drug operation.
Howard said the inmates were sending drug profits to family and relatives in Mexico and using some of the funds to smuggle contraband into the prison. He said additional arrests are expected as the investigation continues.