A man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for heading up a $1 million methamphetamine trafficking ring that included running a major meth lab in Brookhaven, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Hugo Solano-Garcia, 31, was the “manager” of the drug trafficking ring that included a number of meth labs in DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties. Federal and local law enforcement officers raided a lab in Brookhaven on Jan. 30, 2018, and found approximately 130 pounds of methamphetamine in crystal and liquid form and three firearms, including an AR-15-style rifle, according to a press release
This is believed to be one of the largest methamphetamine seizures Brookhaven’s history, according to U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
Solano-Garcia, also known as “Gordo,” was in the country illegally from Mexico, Pak said in the release. After serving his 20-year sentence, he will be deported.
Eight other defendants have been sentenced.
“This elaborate ring profited from pumping poison in the form of high-grade methamphetamine into our community,” Pak said in the press release. “When agents took down their operation, it was discovered that the traffickers had used weapons to protect their clandestine labs. All but one of the defendants in this case, including Solano-Garcia, were in this country illegally. In the end, the payout for each of them is a long federal prison sentence and then deportation.”
Agents with the DEA and the Atlanta-Carolina High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program began investigating Solano-Garcia and his associates in 2017 for trafficking methamphetamine that had been smuggled from Mexico into the Atlanta area, according to the release.
The investigation revealed the defendants would “convert liquid methamphetamine into crystal methamphetamine for distribution, sometimes hiding the illicit drugs in hollowed-out fire extinguishers and car batteries,” according to the release.