Cobb SWAT bust yields less than 2 oz.
by Rachel Gray
January 28, 2014 12:26 AM | 5193 views | 14 14 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nahum Rodriguez
Nahum Rodriguez
slideshow
Dustin Castillo
Dustin Castillo
slideshow
Desiderio Sosa
Desiderio Sosa
slideshow
Saul Montelongo
Saul Montelongo
slideshow
Maicon Cruz
Maicon Cruz
slideshow
MARIETTA — The Marietta-Cobb-Smyrna Narcotics unit and the Cobb Sheriff’s SWAT team orchestrated a drug bust earlier this month that resulted in less than 2 ounces of drugs being confiscated.

On Jan. 9, the two units arrested five Marietta men on charges of drug possession, resisting arrest and having false identification.

“Cobb Sheriff deputies were in full SWAT uniform with ‘SHERIFF’ displayed on their chest,” the warrant said, as the officers entered the home on Favorwood Drive, south of Windy Hill Road and east of Austell Road.

District Attorney Vic Reynolds said complaints to the narcotics unit about illicit activity can come in anonymously from residents or as tips from other law enforcement agencies.

Typical investigative methods, like surveillance or sifting through suspects’ trash, are used to gather enough probable cause for a magistrate judge to grant a search warrant, Reynolds said.

If the warrant is granted, Reynolds said the unit has 10 days to draw up a plan and execute the legal search.

At the time of the Jan. 9 bust, a 2002 Cadillac was parked on the road in front of the home.

Two people in the car “were identified as being involved in possible criminal activity by MCS agents conducting pre-surveillance on the target address,” the warrant said.

According to police reports, a plastic bag containing 0.1 grams of a substance that Cobb Police said tested positive for methamphet-amine was found on the passenger-side floor board where Nahum Rodriguez was sitting.

Rodriguez was arrested on felony charges of possession of methamphetamine and released the next day on a $5,000 bond.

No cash or guns were found by police in the home or vehicle during the raid.

Guy Sharpe has been a defense lawyer for 34 years and has a firm at 244 Roswell St. near Marietta National Military Cemetery.

Sharpe said law enforcement often uses confidential informants as the basis for obtaining a search warrant.

Many times, informants are unreliable people who have been arrested and want help in their own pending criminal case, so they exaggerate “mere suspicion,” Sharpe said.

The narcotics SWAT team bust

On Jan. 9, Dustin Castillo was in the backyard as the SWAT team approached, the warrant said.

Although the warrant said Castillo was told to stop and lie on the ground, he allegedly fled into the woods.

Castillo was arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing law enforcement officers. He was given a $2,000 bond and released the next day.

According to the warrant, when the SWAT unit entered the home, Desiderio Sosa, originally from El Savador, resisted the officers.

“Deputies Pruett, Barber and Gorski had to physically subdue (Sosa) while he was pushing, kicking and pulling,” the warrant said.

Sosa, who appeared to have many facial bruises in his jail booking photo, was arrested on felony charges of obstructing law enforcement and was released the next day on a $5,000 bond.

The warrant said officers found two digital scales, 46 grams of marijuana, 3.9 grams of cocaine and 1.8 grams of methamphetamine in various locations inside a bedroom.

The substances tested positive in an initial field test, the warrant said, before being sent to a crime lab for further testing.

Saul Montelongo was arrested on three felony charges for possession of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. He was released two days later on a $10,000 bond.

The Jan. 9 bust was small compared to the amount of drugs the MCS unit generally seizes, Reynolds said, but any time there is illegal contraband obtained it is considered “successful.”

“Obviously the reality is you don’t know what is behind that door,” Reynolds said. “On occasion, not often, they go into the home and find nothing.”

In 2013, the MCS unit seized more than $42 million worth of drugs, Reynolds said. The majority was confiscated from busts using search warrants.

Local lawyer fights unjustified searches

While searching the house, the warrant said officers found fake identification cards belonging to Maicon Cruz, originally from Mexico.

“The Permanent Resident Card was recognized by a Cobb County Sheriff’s Deputy, who previously worked as an immigration enforcement deputy, as a fraudulent Green Card,” the warrant said.

According to the warrant, Cruz also possessed a Social Security Card that was determined to be a fake by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Cruz was arrested on two felony counts of possessing false government identification and is being held without bond by ICE.

Sharpe said the small quantity of drugs found in the recent bust indicates more of a personal use, since drug dealers would typically store money and guns at the site.

As a defense attorney, Sharpe said he often fights illegal searches and the men arrested on Jan. 9 should challenge the possible false information that was the basis for the warrant.

If the warrant is overturned, then the evidence is thrown out, and “that is the end of the case,” Sharpe said.

Reynolds, who was a former prosecutor in Fulton, said, “Cobb is in a better position than most other counties in metro Atlanta,” because area law enforcement takes an “assertive position” to catch drug dealers and imprison them.

“There is a consequence to pay for what you do,” said Reynolds, and the “vigilance” keeps Cobb in a better position.

Sharpe said it would require a sea change for “conservative” Georgia to make marijuana legal, as it is for all uses in Colorado and Washington, or even for medical uses as it is in a host of other states.

“The statistics are there that alcohol is more of a burden on society than marijuana,” Sharpe said. “The war on drugs has been more of a political campaign than it has been based on science in the use of marijuana.”

Comments
(14)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
DashCam
|
February 04, 2014


Is the reporter who wrote this article in the habit of promoting lawyers who solicit thugs as clients? Rather than praise the enforcement units who carried out the bust, she criticizes it. How much larger did she need to make the headlines in this article in the MDJ to promote just that? Perhaps she didn't think that the small amount of drugs found was simply because they had previously sold or stashed an unknown amount. And, to her, obviously the illegal cards they had were of no consequence. With all the vehicles lined up at a house that's occupied by one female and eight males, who receive visitors 24/7, each for a few short minutes, surely Mr Sharpe would argue they have lots of relatives who enjoy using hard drugs! Or perhaps they have lots of friends whose quick in-n-out visits support them financially since none of the nine seem to go to work every day like the rest of us. And let's not overlook the fact that one guy fought the police & another one ran. Obviously they did know that selling drugs is illegal. When our media puts down the work of law enforcement, it's an abuse against all of us. These are the same individuals who would publish in small headlines on a back-page article when a child walking to or from school is killed when a drug buy goes bad - regardless of the amount. How tragic that the emphasis of this article promotes the services of an attorney with name & address rather than giving one single thought to the residents of the neighborhood who endure the lifestyle of those who so openly deal illegal substances.
anonymous
|
January 29, 2014
Was this Gang related? The article doesn't dig very deep.
CobbResident
|
January 29, 2014
These guys look like the usual suspects.
anonymous
|
January 29, 2014
So police find drugs in a house upon executing a warrant and make multiple arrests... Isn't that what police are supposed to do? Expecally near a high school! Good job! Sounds like a lot of assumptions by the pro-marijuana crowd without knowing the details of the investigation. Who wants to live next to a drug house... Marijuana or other harder drugs.
anonymous
|
January 28, 2014
Last time I checked Marijuana is illegal and the article says in addition to marijuana, Meth and cocaine were found in the house. Sounds like a good case.
anonymous
|
January 28, 2014
We have paid for and given the local cops all of the toys of war, but without the governance/responsibility imposed by the rules of engagement --as we do in war. Whatever outrageous acts they choose to (or negligently) commit on the citizenry, goes. Typically, all in the name of the "war on drugs".

The police state and all of the cowboy lawlessness of the blue line is getting oohhh so much closer to the everyday average Cobb countian.

It is reason to be very concerned...if not for our safety and rights, for the wasted money spent on the nonsensical "equipping-for-war" of the cowboys and barney Fifes who often migrate to LE and without the brains to understand (or care about)the responsibilities that lording over the citizenry as a government agent really entail.

Will it be long before the SWAT team is going out to serve warrants on people with over due library books? They are in other cities!

We are sooo much safer today without 2 ounces of pot in our midst( and lucky no by-standers were accidentally shot)!

Good work dear SWAT Team!

FLASH! BOOM! BANG!
ProPolice
|
January 31, 2014
You apparently live in a world of make believe and speak of a case you know little about. I'm glad the police get these low life drug dealers that infect our community and our children. So many crimes evolve around the illegal drug trade and people that look at these men as victims are fools. When I read your comments all I can think is what a fool you are....
anonymous
|
February 03, 2014
ProPolice you are either a LEO or blissfully ignorant of how LE is actually behaving these days.

I guess you are OK with the recent reevaluation Cobb Cops and Forest Park a Cops and Dekalb County Cops are roadside strip searching/fondling innocent people who cooperated with the cops by agreeing to a pat down search? Sadly, this Nazi like behavior is becoming far too common.

ProPolice you can keep your head in the sand if you want. But,it sure does not help your understanding of reality.

FWIW, 85% of LE is comprised of good, upstanding folks. Unfortunately,they tend to stand by the side when the 15% of thugs/idiots/criminals in their ranks do stupid and criminal stuff to citizens...law abidng and not.

Connie Mack Jr
|
January 28, 2014
According to the Federal Department of Justice, the last known public record of SWAT Raids were over 40,000 in 2010 compare to 2000 where there was 2,300 Does the term "Police State" ring a Bell?..It appears that everybody has a SWAT Team nowdays and even Disney World now has 2 private law enforcement SWAT Teams to nailed Mickey Mouse for trafficing in Used T-shirts from China with Donald Duck as the prime Duck of Interest.
RealUSA
|
January 30, 2014
Ya right! If you think this is bad, wait until your government does to you what the fantastic swat team did to these thugs. And by the way, Thank You for your tax dollars that support the Cobb swat team. Without them, more blind eyed folks like you will continue to support the thugs
Paul9989
|
January 28, 2014
What a giant waste of resources. I wonder how much $$ went into this? What ELSE could police be better spending their time and resources on that would actually DO SOMETHING POSITIVE for the community? It's time to stop this madness. Colorado and Washington are onto something that makes a ton of sense.
USARES
|
February 04, 2014
Maybe you should move to Washington or Colorado. Then, you can applaud the smoking pot rules there. Ya think?
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides