An eight-month investigation by ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office has led to the seizure of $4.1 million worth of methamphetamine and heroin in Columbus and the arrest of two suspects in what is believed to be the largest bust of the drugs in Columbus, Sheriff Donna Tompkins said Wednesday.
The suspects were identified as Anayanssy Espinosa, 42, and her husband, Ezequiel Rangel-Barajas, 33, also known as Jose Hernandez. Both were arrested during a Nov. 29 search at 1232 Alta Vista Drive, the sheriff said. Each is charged with trafficking in heroin and trafficking in meth. After a Friday hearing in Municipal Court, both cases were bound over to Superior Court.
During the search, deputies with the Operations Bureau of the sheriff’s office seized 14 pounds, 7 ounces of heroin and 33 pounds, 6 ounces of meth or ICE. The heroin is valued at $2.6 million and the meth is worth $1.67 million for a total of $4.1 million. Deputies also seized $42,800 in cash along with two vehicles.
In a coordinated effort with ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta, authorities seized a delivery by the target individual in Columbus with 69.4 pounds of meth. That seizure which was made before the search warrant was conducted in Columbus is valued at $2.8 million.
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The investigation was led by Sgt. Jonnie Ellerbee under the direction of Maj. Mike Massey. Ellerbee said the 69.4 pounds didn’t come through Columbus. “This was not made here,” Ellerbee said. This was made in a super lab somewhere. It was being processed on Alta Vista Drive.”
Deputies had hollowed out car batteries on display to show how meth was transported. The meth was made into a liquified form and shipped anywhere inside the battery.
All told, the seizures in Columbus and Atlanta eliminated more than 100 pounds of meth and 14.7 pounds of heroin from getting on the streets in the southeast. The combined street value of the drugs is estimated at $7.6 million.