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5 arrested on meth trafficking, weapons charges in Cobb, Cherokee

Agents targeted the gangs’ alleged weapons and drug trafficking relationship with local associates of Mexican cartel traffickers.

ATLANTA — Editor's note: The video above is from a previous story.

Five people are behind bars on methamphetamine trafficking charges after a months-long investigation between the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations

Earlier this year, GBI Gang Task Force Agents and HSI Atlanta Agents initiated an investigation of the criminal street gangs Gangster Disciples and Ghostface Gangsters, they said Tuesday in a news release. Specifically, they said agents targeted the gangs’ alleged weapons and drug trafficking relationship with local associates of Mexican cartel traffickers.

On Oct. 9, agents executed search warrants at homes in Cobb County and Cherokee County, they said.

In Marietta, at a home off Highland Terrace Drive NE, authorities said agents seized 100 kilograms of suspected crystal methamphetamine, a loaded AR-15 rifle, and one handgun.

At the same time, searches took place in Cherokee County resulting in the seizure of approximately 3 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine, the GBI said.

The following people were arrested:

  • Melissa Picardi, 37, of Atlanta, charged with trafficking methamphetamine
  • Antonio Jamar Laster, 24, of Nashville, Tennessee charged with trafficking methamphetamine 
  • Bryan Hernandez, 23, of Atlanta, charged with trafficking methamphetamine
  • Miguel Angel Rayon Gonzalez,  20, of Atlanta, charged with trafficking methamphetamine
  • Jesus Cruz-Aguirre, 19, of Atlanta, charged with trafficking methamphetamine

“Months of investigation led to a large amount of dangerous drugs and weapons taken off the street,” said Special Agent in Charge Ken Howard. “The GBI Gang Task Force works collaboratively with federal, state, and local law enforcement to identify and eliminate gang activity and make communities safer.”

Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama, agreed.

“Through our unique partnership we have been able to demonstrate that local gangs are working with Mexican cartel members and even MS-13 to bring their drugs and violence to the streets of Georgia.”

This joint investigation remains active and ongoing. Additional charges are anticipated.