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But Mr. Wooldridge, the defense attorney, says that man is not his client and disputes the government’s identification of his client as “Ace.” He said the government had no one else to blame, so prosecutors decided to accuse Mr. Haro-Perez of running the operation.

“The government thinks he is someone who he is not,” he said. “There was nothing illegal at all, probably made some bad choices about where he slept that night, that’s probably the worst thing he did.”

Mr. Wooldridge was reluctant to speak about the case in great detail but said his client was new to town and simply sleeping at the home in Norcross when he was arrested.

Fernando Herrera, who lives next door to the house where Mr. Haro-Perez was arrested, remembers waking up for work the morning Mr. Haro-Perez was arrested and seeing “a lot of police outside.”

Mr. Herrera said that was the first time he had any notion his neighbors could be trouble.

“I never seen nothing over there,” he said. “I don’t know too much about those people.”