by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga.,None - Police
made a major drug seizure in Gwinnett County, intercepting an $11.2 million shipment from Mexico that was to be distributed in north Georgia, they said.
Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh was at court Thursday when the three men who were arrested in connection to the drugs made their first appearance.
Investigators said they found the men, Epifanio Sandoval-Hernandez, Luis Vasquez, and Jose Romero, loading up boxes of drugs into the back of a
truck, but their attorneys argued the suspects likely had no idea what was in those boxes.
Investigators said $11.2 million drug bust kept 500 pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine off the streets of Georgia.
"There were about 100 boxes in one area of the warehouse; Jose Romero was seen taking those boxes to the loading dock area, so they could be loaded to a truck," an undercover officer testified in court.
The deputy said Gwinnett County police had information that prompted surveillance on
the warehouse on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Duluth in February.
The investigator said of the 100 or so boxes in the warehouse, investigators saw Romero set 10-15 aside. He said the boxes were labeled "red clay" which was handwritten in Spanish.
Next, the deputy said Vasquez and Hernandez-Sandoval arrived in a rented white box truck.
- $11.2M in cocaine, methamphetamine found in Gwinnett warehouse
- PHOTOS: $11.2M in cocaine, meth found in Gwinnett warehouse
"Then all three started the loading the boxes to the rear of the truck," the deputy said.
That's when police moved in and the undercover investigators said all three men ran.
When investigators opened the box, they said they found a red powder on top. Underneath, were bundles of meth and cocaine bricks marked with nicknames.
"My training and experience tells me that those are set to go to a certain customer," the investigator said.
Kavanaugh said about a dozen of Jose Romero's family members were court Thursday. Kavanaugh said they shed tears during the hearing, but said little when it was over.
All of the suspects are in jail without bond. Kavanaugh also learned the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol and the DEA are involved in this investigation.
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