Massive heroin bust likely largest in state with nearly 400 pounds removed near ‘The Bluff’

ATLANTA — Federal, state and local authorities say a massive heroin bust is likely one the biggest in the state, cutting off a major supplier for our area’s largest drug market.

Agents seized roughly 170 kilos, or 374 pounds, of heroin or heroin cut with other substances near our area's biggest open-air drug markets - The Bluff.

The DEA agent in charge told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that if this much heroin made it to the street more people would’ve died from overdoses and would have fed other social problems like child neglect.

“Is this the biggest heroin seizure in Georgia history?” Winne asked DEA Atlanta special agent in charge Robert Murphy.

“Oh, by far. Nowhere even close to this amount have we seen before,” Murphy said.

The DEA said the seizure was roughly worth $8 million.

“Some of it (was) black tar. Some of it regular brown heroin,” Murphy said.


“You believe the main suspect here is the primary supplier of heroin to The Bluff?”

“No doubt,” Murphy said.

“Perhaps the most infamous heroin trap in the South?” Winne asked Murphy.

“No doubt,” Murphy said.

Murphy told Winne that the DEA, working with the FBI and Doraville police, also found about $1.5 million in cash in a stash house along Whitehall Street, along with about 10 kilos of cocaine and about 20 pounds of marijuana.

Agents said they also found 41 guns, some heavy duty.

Murphy said this may be the first time DEA has been able to track the heroin route from The Bluff back to a specific cartel based in Mexico.

He said for decades, just as the dope comes from outside the neighborhood, many of the buyers in The Bluff have too, from nearly every county in north Georgia and well beyond.

“When I first started as a brand-new agent in Atlanta, it was an open-air drive through market and you’d see tags from all over,” Murphy said.

Murphy said agents documented $31 million from the operation sent back to cartel suppliers in less than a year.

“There’s a staggering amount of people that are using heroin still in this area, especially in light of COVID and everything else. This is a wakeup call kind of to us on that,” Murphy said.

Murphy told Winne that he expects more will come out about the man behind the bust on Wednesday, when U.S. Attorney Bjay Pak is expected to hold a news conference.

Murphy said the alleged suspect has already done time in federal prison.

He said agents are waiting on lab results to identify what some of the heroin was cut with and he’s hoping it’s not fentanyl, which can make one of history’s deadliest street drugs even more lethal.