Eight Arrested in Georgia Meth Trafficking Operation Raid

GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Eight defendants have been sentenced for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and money laundering as part of Operation Night Train, a long-term Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation in Gainesville, Georgia.

“Methamphetamine continues to plague our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine.  “This prosecution demonstrates that our federal, state, and local partners remain committed to taking these dangerous drug dealers off of our streets. We are grateful to the many law enforcement agencies who partnered with us on these cases.”

“Because of the results of this case our communities are safer and other drug traffickers in Georgia have been put on notice that we will not tolerate their efforts to spread these dangerous drugs,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “They will face the combined force of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners.”

“Georgians deserve to live in a safe and drug-free environment. We will continue to work diligently with all of our partners to investigate and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that threaten the safety of our communities,” said Vic Reynolds, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Christine, the charges and other information presented in court: Teofilo Carlos Santana Medrano ran a multi-kilogram methamphetamine distribution organization in the Gainesville, Georgia, area.  He was supplied by Maria Maldonado and Salome Urieta Jaimes.  Santana distributed methamphetamine to other members of his organization.

Eight defendants in the case have been sentenced after pleading guilty:

  • Timothy Barnes, 53, of Jasper, Georgia, was sentenced on January 28, 2021, to 11 years, eight months in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.  Barnes was convicted on September 8, 2020, after he pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Teofilo Carlos Santana Medrano, 29, of Gainesville, Georgia, was sentenced on October 14, 2020, to 18 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.  Santana was convicted on February 19, 2020 after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Michael Johnny Davis, 57, of Canton, Georgia, was sentenced on October 26, 2020, to four years, nine months in prison to be followed by six years of supervised release.  Davis was convicted on July 23, 2020, after he pleaded guilty.
  • Maria Isabel Gonzalez Maldonado, a/k/a Lili, 38, of Atlanta Georgia, was sentenced on November 20, 2020, to eight years, one month in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.  Maldonado was convicted on March 19, 2020, after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess methamphetamine.
  • John Johnson, 50, of Mershon, Georgia, was sentenced on November 20, 2020, to three years, eight months in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release.  Johnson was convicted on August 13, 2020, after he pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Mitchell Lingerfelt, 45, of Ball Ground, Georgia, was sentenced on October 29, 2020, to five years, three months in prison to be followed by seven years of supervised release.  Davis was convicted on July 23, 2020, after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Carlos Neftali Lemus Salmeron, 29, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was sentenced on August 14, 2020, to six years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.  Salmeron was convicted on September 3, 2019, after he pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Salome Urieta Jaimes, a/k/a “Gucci”, 39, of Guerrero, Mexico was sentenced on August 14, 2020, to nine years, two months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $200.00.  Jaimes was convicted on January 31, 2020, after he pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and money laundering.

The remaining defendant, Lesli Arroyo Alvarado, 24, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine on July 2, 2020.  She fled prior to her sentencing.  Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is asked to contact to the FBI.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI North Georgia Major Offenders Task Force, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, the Rhea County, Tennessee, Sherriff’s Office,  the GBI Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, the Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, and the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Calvin A. Leipold, III and former Assistant U.S. Attorney William McKinnon prosecuted the case.