The U.S. Attorney’s office in Atlanta indicted 88 individuals who are alleged to be connected to two major drug cartels in Mexico. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the federal government’s investigation in this case, which involved law enforcement officers from 300 agencies, led to the seizure of $10 million in cash, 111 kilograms of cocaine, 17 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, and 32 weapons.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) alleges that the currency was headed back to Mexico and the packaging of the drugs revealed unique markings indicating that they originated with the Mexican drug cartels.
The DEA has spent much of its resources over the past several years targeting Mexican drug trafficking organizations and considers the recent indictments a major blow to their alleged movement of drugs through Atlanta. Atlanta has become a major hub for drug trafficking in recent years.
Our firm has handled several recent federal cases involving alleged Mexican drug trafficking organizations in Atlanta, several of those cases involved literally truckloads of drugs and millions of dollars in seized cash. In these cases, the government sought to tender their DEA agents as “experts” in the field of Mexican drug trafficking organizations. The agents would then testify that the seemingly innocent conduct that our clients had engaged in was consistent with what their investigations had revealed were the practices employed by Mexican drug trafficking organizations. We have vigorously fought for the exclusion of this sort of testimony on the grounds that the agents were not “experts” in this field and that they could never prove that they ever reliably determined just how Mexican drug trafficking organizations did, in fact, operate. Moreover, the government has never been able to prove that “Mexican” drug trafficking organizations actually behave any different than those of other nationalities.
Many Georgia criminal defense attorneys have been critical of this “expert testimony” believing that it is nothing more than a ploy to allow the agents to tell the jury “trust us, we know these guys are drug dealers.” This type of testimony has been offered in several cases where there was no other evidence at trial that the defendants had possessed or distributed drugs.
With the wealth of information that these recent indictments should reveal about Mexican drug trafficking organizations, we’ll see whether these agents really knew what they were talking about.
Page Pate is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and whistleblower representation. Page is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and named to the list of Super Lawyers for the past 15 consecutive years. Page is a frequent expert legal analyst for local and national media and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia Law School. Read Page’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Page on Twitter @pagepate and on Linkedin.