Wu Block Seizure

A handout photo provided by the U.S. attorney's office shows drugs, cash and more items seized as part of Operation Wu Block.

Nearly 70 people were indicted as part of a federal and state investigation into drug trafficking in north Georgia.

The U.S. attorney in Macon announced the results of Operation Wu Block on Thursday afternoon.

U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler said 68 people face criminal charges and more indictments are expected in the coming months. And, several kilos of methamphetamine and heroin were taken off the streets.

The two-year effort was conducted by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration out of Macon; FBI Middle Georgia Safe Streets Gang Task Force; Athens-Clarke police; sheriff’s offices from Hart, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe counties; the Georgia Department of Corrections and Northeast Regional Drug Task Force, along with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Georgia.

Only one Walton County resident was charged, 32-year-old Ricky Keith Young.

“Law enforcement in Georgia are aggressively working to find and arrest individuals distributing dangerous drugs in our communities,” Peeler said.

Officials said the investigation resulted in the seizure of more than 58 kilograms of meth, more than 2 kilograms of heroin, 31 guns and $56,000.

“The removal of drugs, guns and money and 68 defendants from our streets will have an immediate impact on the safety of our citizens, thanks to a two-year cooperative effort with our federal, state and local partners,” Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said.

“This case is another example of the commitment to dismantle organizations that wreak havoc in our communities and endanger the people who live in them.”

Criminal charges include conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances and firearm possession.

Charged were:

  • Athens-Clarke County: Byron Bennett, 41; Latasha Bishop, 33; Chuckferrio Booker, 30; Haley Carter, 21; Steven Mark Cook, 32; Crystal Eddy, 38; Jeri Renee Elliott, 49; Jennifer Gee, 33; Howard Burnham Gowen, 50; Jonathan Green, 34; Cierra Gresham, 23; Kristy Lynn Houseman, 40; Jessica Kraps, 35; Dwayne Maddox, 34; Ashley Michelle Manley 25; Kyle Melton, 34; Andrew Moon, 31; Rodney Lewis Moore, 33; Gregory Mulligan, 29; Michelle Mutch, 27; Greyson Newsome, 31; Audrey Lynn Paige, 30; Kenneth Sterling, 50; Pamela Lynn Sutton, 38; Travis Wheeler, 36; April Wolford, 29; Garrett Wolford, 33; Darien Woodrum, 27
  • Barrow County: Maurice Hancock, 46; Steven Turbeville
  • Cobb County: Lazaro Hernandez, 28; Cindy Isamara Ramos, 28; Mario Alberto Silverio, 40
  • Elbert County: Jason Monroe Bellew, 35
  • Franklin County: Angela Fain, 48; William Fain, 55
  • Gordon County: David Zavala, 28
  • Gwinnett County: Frankie Baza, 32; Mishel Cruz Sanchez, 29; Russel Huckeba, 40; Esmeralda Mata-Bustos, 38; Ricardo Turrubiartes Amaro, 22
  • Hart County: Joey Arguelles, 24; Joshua Wayne Coker, 38; Thomas Joey Fowler; Daniel Keith McCullough, 27; Scott Moore, 39; Madlyn Vista Mull, 21
  • Madison County: Benjamin Bray, 23; Ashley Davis, 26; Bruce Hicks, 39; Ronald Kelley, 49
  • Oconee County: Peggy Bentley, 48; Jason Casey, 38; Justin Clouse, 38; Larry Thomas Coker, 34; Jasmin Duarte, 26; Juan Espino, 45; Shana Leeanne Smith, 31
  • Oglethorpe County: Mechelle Morris, 44; Mathew Shaver, 43; James Andrew Young, 26
  • Pickens County: Kenneth Lee Jarrett, 59
  • Walton County: Ricky Keith Young, 32
  • Arlington, Virginia: William Mathew Howard, 45
  • Bristol, Tennessee: Chandler Moore, 35; Cecil Wampler, 35
  • Johnson City, Tennessee: Amy Laura Leonard, 51

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