Cherokee County

Cherokee Co. man who worked with drug cartel to make, distribute meth in several states sentenced

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — A Cherokee County man will spend the next few decades behind bars after officials say he pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine.

Cherokee County District Attorney Susan K. Treadaway said 36-year-old James Aaron Aldred IV of Canton was sentenced to 25 years in prison and 20 years of probation after pleading guilty to manufacturing, trafficking and selling meth.

According to court officials, in Jan. 2023, Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad received a tip about a multi-state drug trafficking organization that was operating in Cherokee County.

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Investigators learned that individuals would travel from Tennessee to Cherokee County to pick up large quantities of meth that would then be sold in northern Tennessee and southern Virginia.

Officials said Aldred was identified as the Cherokee County drug courier who was in charge of handling the drugs before they were sent north.

According to the investigation, many of Aldred’s large drug transactions were conducted in a Kroger parking lot on Marietta Highway in Canton.

As part of the investigation, undercover CMANS agents purchased drugs from Aldred in a controlled narcotics transaction.

On April 19, 2023, CMANS agents executed a search warrant of Aldred’s home, where they found eight pounds of meth in multiple Ziploc bags in a bathroom shower and bedroom.


During the search, officials said agents also found a methamphetamine conversion lab where four pitchers were filled with nearly 10 pounds of liquid methamphetamine that was in the process of being converted into a solid substance for sale.

Investigators learned that Aldred worked for a drug cartel. During that time, officials said he would handle 12 to 25 kilograms of methamphetamine at a time.

Court officials added that the cartel Aldred worked for was run by a federal inmate currently incarcerated for selling meth.

“Not only is this a staggering amount of methamphetamine, but more alarming is that these drugs were being sold in public locations. This defendant endangered innocent citizens who had no idea that a drug cartel was operating within our community,” Megan S. Hertel, Cherokee County Assistant District Attorney, said. “This case is an excellent example of the importance of collaborations among agencies, in this case, a federal agency and a local agency, which resulted in shutting down a major pipeline of drugs into our community and beyond.”

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In addition to the 25 years in prison and 20 years of probation, Aldred must also complete 200 hours of community service and pay a $1,850,055 fine.

“This sentence ensures that another drug trafficker stays off our streets, where he is no longer able to spread dangerous drugs,” Treadaway said. “CMANS did a phenomenal job investigating this case and bringing this defendant to justice. With drug trafficking organizations now in communities across the country, it is important that we remain vigilant and work together to dismantle these cartels.”