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GEORGIA

Mexican drug ring slammed by busts

JONESBORO | Federal and local law enforcement agents have arrested 45 people and seized cash, guns and more than two tons of drugs as part of an investigation into the Atlanta-area U.S. distribution hub of a major Mexican drug cartel, authorities said Thursday.

Operation Choke Hold began in May 2009 and targeted the Atlanta-area operations of La Familia Michoacana, authorities said at a news conference at a suburban Atlanta courthouse. Known as La Familia, it is one of Mexico’s largest and most brutal cartels.

Authorities seized 4,120 pounds of marijuana, 46 pounds of methamphetamine, about 95 pounds of cocaine, 20 guns, six vehicles and about $2.3 million in cash during the investigation. The drugs seized have a street value of more than $10 million, Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Lawson said.

Investigators say the La Familia cell based in Atlanta imports cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. The network distributes significant amounts of the drugs to Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina.

MONTANA

Facebook leads to parole jumper

HELENA | A man who absconded from parole in California 12 years ago has been arrested in northern Montana after disclosing his location in an update on his Facebook page.

A fugitive task force in California learned that Robert Lewis Crose, 47, was working in northern Montana after he complained about the cold weather, Glacier County sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Siefert told the Independent Record.

Crose’s Facebook page includes an Oct. 28 posting complaining that his “water line froze even with heat tape and wrap” after the temperature fell to 20 degrees below zero. When someone asked where he was at, Crose responded with a post that said “Cut Bank,” a small, windswept town just south of the Canadian border.

Crose was convicted of making a terrorist threat and a gun violation for using a sawed-off shotgun to fend off an intruder at his appliance store in Ventura, Calif., in 1996. He served less than a year in prison and was paroled. The Los Angeles Times reported he was returned to prison for a parole violation and paroled again in October 1998.

NEVADA

Navy SEAL, 2 others accused of arms smuggling

LAS VEGAS | A Navy special forces SEAL in California and men in Nevada and Colorado are accused of smuggling machine guns from Iraq into the U.S. for resale on the black market, authorities say.

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