ATLANTA - The conviction of the drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was a massive victory for law enforcement, but Channel 2 Action News has learned that the flow of drugs from his cartel to metro Atlanta hasn’t slowed down since Guzman was convicted, facing a lifetime behind bars.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne has learned a recent drug bust is tied to drug king pin’s cartel.
Pictures from the raid show drugs hidden in Sheetrock. Agents found more drugs in packages disguised to look like speakers.
Winne spoke with an undercover agent, who we are not identifying, who said he went head-to-head with El Chapo’s organization in the past.
“You’re always going to be looking over your shoulder. You’re always going to be looking twice when you drive home,” the undercover agent said. “You can’t turn that switch off.”
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“(Atlanta’s) the center of the drug trafficking universe now. What used to be '80s for Miami is what it is now in Atlanta. We are the primary trans-shipment point. It also stays here,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Robert Murphy.
With El Chapo’s arrest, and now conviction, Murphy said this is a big win for law enforcement.
“Finally, we got him. So, this is the Super Bowl trophy for drug law enforcement,” Murphy said.
The conviction is also personal for Murphy because the Sinaloa Cartel cost him the best undercover agent he's ever seen. He told Winne the threats against that agent were so alarming, he had to pull him off the street.
“We couldn’t keep putting him at risk,” Murphy said.
“It’s definitely a scary moment when you hear your name or somebody talking about you, to you. That’s definitely a call that you never forget,” the undercover agent said. “The phone rings. If you pick up the wrong phone and answer the wrong way you’re done. Years of investigations and evidence goes down.”
Murphy said even though a jury convicted Guzman on multiple counts in New York, his impact on metro Atlanta continues.
The special agent in charge showed Winne the 450 pounds of crystal meth seized at labs in Milton and Ellenwood this weekend.
Murphy said the operation is believed to be tied to Sinaloa Cartel or a violent offshoot cartel called Jalisco New Generation.
“They were the enforcement arm for the Sinaloa,” Murphy said.
While Georgia was not mentioned in the indictment against El Chapo, Murphy said some of the massive drugs loads involved were likely shipped through metro Atlanta.
“Atlanta is the gateway to the Northeast, the gateway to the Midwest,” Murphy said.
He told Winne that most of the drugs on metro Atlanta streets in recent years, including the heroin sold in the notorious trap known as The Bluff, came from the Sinaloa cartel.
“(El Chapo) was the first to include mixing fentanyl in with the heroin. That was his,” Murphy said.
The DEA said weekend raid unfolded at five residences across six metro counties. Six people were taken into custody.
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