police car

 An Athens-Clarke County police car. (Photo/Caroline Barnes, https://carolinembarnes.wixsite.com/photography)

Twenty-nine Athens residents were among those indicted in an investigation of a large-scale methamphetamine and heroin trafficking scheme. The investigation, called Operation Wu Block, led to criminal charges for 68 people and the seizure of meth and heroin, according to a Thursday U.S. Department of Justice news release.

The two-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation resulted in the seizure of over 58 kilograms of meth, over two kilograms of heroin, 31 firearms and $56,000, the release said.

Charges brought against defendants so far include conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances, and firearm possession, according to the release. Penalties range from five years up to life in prison, depending on the charge. The release did not specify which charges were being brought against which defendants.

The operation is part of the larger Operation Crystal Shield, a national DEA operation focused on eight main meth trafficking transportation hubs across the nation, including Atlanta, the release said. Both operations are ongoing. The cases from Operation Wu Block will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Jarrett.

More indictments are expected in the coming months, Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in the release.

“Law enforcement in Georgia are aggressively working to find and arrest individuals distributing dangerous drugs in our communities,” Peeler said. “This investigation is a textbook example of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working together in the Middle District of Georgia to stem the flow of illegal narcotics and the severe damage they cause within our communities.”

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