VALDOSTA -- A joint effort between law enforcement agencies resulted in the largest non-interstate drug bust in years, according to Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk.
The operation, which began early Wednesday morning in Lowndes County and ended in Atkinson County, resulted in the arrests of Fidelmar Vallejo, 25, and Eleazar Vallejo, 32, both of Miami, Fla., and Rojelio Baca of Willacoochee in Lowndes County. Also arrested in Atkinson County was Lucia Vallejo, 28, County Road 13, Pearson.
The Lowndes County end of the joint effort resulted in the seizure of about 300 pounds of marijuana and 9 kilos of cocaine, Paulk said.
In the Atkinson County part of the operation, another 9 kilos of cocaine, a pound of marijuana, 2 pounds of methamphetamine, six vehicles, four firearms and $70,000 in cash were confiscated, according to a press release by Steven Turner, special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Lakeland.
The operation was the result of several months of planning between the Lowndes and Atkinson sheriff's offices, the Valdosta Police Department, a GBI task force and the Drug Enforcement Administration, totaling about 25 personnel, Paulk said.
The first operation occurred on Gornto Road in Valdosta, where law enforcement officers posed as drug buyers. The officers had $250,000 in cash that had come from Lowndes County Sheriff's Office funds and had to be released by a bank. Because of the large amount of cash, the bank had to be notified well in advance to release that amount of money, Paulk said.
The operation called for the undercover officers to show the money to lure the Vallejo brothers and Baca to show drugs believed to be in their possession. Once the drugs were shown, law enforcement officials in the area closed in and the suspects were taken into custody without incident, Paulk said.
The second operation in Atkinson County occurred when the special task force executed a search warrant at Baca's residence on County Road 13, resulting in the seizure of more drugs, weapons, vehicles and money.
The Vallejo brothers and Baca have been charged by the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office with trafficking cocaine and trafficking marijuana and are now in custody at the Lowndes County Jail.
Lucia Vallejo and Baca have been charged by the GBI with trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to the GBI.
Lucia Vallejo is being held in the Atkinson County Jail, where she awaits bail.
To contact reporter Rip Prine, please call 244-3400, ext. 237.
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