Taliaferro County deputies bust $25 million in marijuana

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August 15, 2006

A massive drug bust in Taliaferro County yields thousands of plants worth millions of dollars.

It's a field drug agents have been watching for months...and today they made their move.

More than $25 million worth of marijuana was seized tonight in Taliaferro County.

Only on 12, a huge bust keeps the drugs off our streets.

Taliaferro County Sheriff Marc Richards is worked this drug investigation through the night.

It all started around 12 o'clock Tuesday afternoon in Crawfordville, when evidence at a traffic stop led authorities to the biggest pot bust ever in the county.

"A lot of drug money out of drug dealers hands," Sheriff Richards said.

It was the biggest marijuana bust ever in Taliaferro County, and by far the biggest of Sheriff Richards' career.

And it all started with a traffic stop around lunchtime.

"We made a traffic stop on them and found fertilizer and stuff in the vehicle that related to what they were doing out here," Sheriff Richards said.

Georgia State Patrol and local authorities have been watching Vianey Ramirez and Juan Manuel Barragon Hernandez for more than two months.

Now the two are in the Greene County Jail.

"Makes you feel good when you catch them," Sheriff Richards said.

Deputies counted about 5500 plants in one truck, and at a street value of $2000 a plant, the contents of that truck, combined with those of another truck, totals over $25 million.

"They say, 'It's just marijuana, it's just pot,' but it leads to other stuff. It leads to heroin, crack," Sheriff Richards said.

The big bust created a commotion in Crawfordville, with two helicopters flying overhead and deputies hard at work in the field.

After more than six hours in the sun, the bust yielded a huge harvest of 12,816 marijuana plants--all of it slashed from the field before it could hit the streets.

The sheriff says this is a warning to other drug dealers.

"The message is, I hope I can stop them all," he said.

Sheriff Richards says the investigation is ongoing and charges are pending, but he doesn't expect to make any more arrests in this case.

This is the second major drug bust in Taliaferro County in the last nine months. In December, the sheriff's department stopped a half million dollars worth of illegal drugs headed from Atlanta towards Augusta along I-20.