U.S. Attorney’s Office: Georgia drug kingpin pleads guilty to trafficking Cocaine

MACON, Ga. (WRBL) – The. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said that a leader of a drug trafficking organization responsible for bringing in nearly 2,000 kilograms of Cocaine from Mexico into Georgia for multiple years pled guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy charges in federal court on Monday.

Albert Ross aka “Big”, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute Cocaine and one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana. Ross is facing 10 years to life in prison along with. at least five years of supervised release and a maximum $10 million fine for each count.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says based on the “stipulation f fact” read in court and other records, Ross confessed to being the lead of a large-scale drug operation responsible for importing cocaine and pther drugs from Mexico into the U.S.

Substantial amounts of cocaine were distributed in the Middle Georgia area by Ross’ drug operation. The FBI-Athne Resident Agency opened an investigation looking into Ross’s cocaine distribution activities.

Through using investigative techniques including wiretaps, physical surveillance vehicle trackers and confidential informants, agents were able to identify people associated with Ross’s drug trafficking organization.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said by working with co-conspirators, investigators found that Ross instructed people to transport large amounts of cocaine from Texas and distribute it to Ross’ customers. Ross’ drug operation was supplied by a source residing in Mexico affiliated with the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG). Money for cocaine purchases was provided for couriers in Atlanta who would deliver the money to Ross’ cocaine supplier in Mexico.

Agents learned about Ross and his co-conspirators flying to Mexico City in August 2019 to meet with Ross’ CJNG cocaine supplier and the cartel boss to negotiate a deal where CJNG would supply Ross with 200 additional kilograms of cocaine a month.

A string of texts found on Ross’ iPhone detailed how in a one-month period between March 14 and April 4, 2020, Ross received 112 kilograms of cocaine. During the same time period, Ross sent over $2.5 million in payment to his supplier in Mexico.

Additional evidence revealed within a three-month period in 2018, Ross received 1300 kilograms of Cocaine from a different supplier in Mexico. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said after the drugs arrived in the Atlanta area, Ross stashed the drugs at an elderly family member’s house, who was previously shot picking up drug proceeds.

Co-defendants 44-year-old Lonnie Bennett and 30-year-old Brandon Payne, both from Atlanta, sold Cocaine provided by Ross out of their “stash house” on Pittman Road in College Park, Georgia. Co-defendant TaMichael Darden, 44, from Athens, Georgia, made over 20 trips from Athens to the Pittman Road stash house to buy Cocaine that he later sold throughout the Middle District of Georgia.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Ross is also tied to previous large drug seizures in Georgia. Back in March 2018, Ross and a business partner bought nearly $4 million worth of Cocaine for transport from Teas to Georgia. A tractor-trailer was pulled over on I-20 by a Georgia State Trooper, who found 152 kilograms of Cocaine inside a false wall in the transport truck. After the Cocaine seizure on I-20, Ross asked another co-conspirator to kill the person responsible for overseeing the failed drug load transport. The co-conspirator refused and in December 2018, DEA agents received information from a confidential source about Ross moving a large amount of cash from drug sales in Atlanta to California using a private aircraft.

Agent witnessed men leave Ross’ Bouldercrest Road stash house and board a plane at Peachtree Dekalb Airport with four suitcases and two backpacks. DEA and FBI agents in California waited for the plane and seized over $2 million in drug proceeds from the luggage.

Ross also tasked co-conspirators with transporting and selling large quantities of Marijuana from “Murder Mountain,” a region in Humboldt County, California known for marijuana production. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in one instance, Ross ordered 24,00 pounds of Marijuana to be shipped over eight trips from California to Georgia. Significant amounts of drugs were provided to dealers in the Middle Georgia area including co-defendant 48-year-old Reginald Battle of Statham, Georgia.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Ross was finally arrested on Sept. 23, 2021, at his residence in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Agents found over $300,000 in cash wrapped in tinfoil and vacuum-sealed trash bags inside his bedroom closer. Inside an Atlanta bar owned by Ross, agents recovered more than $600,000 in proceeds. At the conclusion of the investigation, law enforcement siezed the following evidence:

  • $3,164,210 in cash

  • 73 firearms

  • 165.22 kilos of Cocaine

  • 1.32 kilograms of Fentanyl

  • 11.25 ounces of Heroin

  • 1.39 kilograms of Crack Cocaine

  • 12.17 pounds of Crystal Methamphetamine

  • 25.35 pounds of Marijuana

  • 198 dosage units of pharmaceuticals.

Ross has a prior felony drug conviction in Fulton County, Georgia, Superior Court and numerous felony arrests for drug trafficking.

The FBI Atlanta and Athens Resident Agency, Middle Georgia Safe Streets Gang Task Force, DEA, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force, GBI, Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Department of Revenue, Georgia State Patrol, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office, Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, Atlanta Police Department, Brookhaven Police Department, Cobb County Police Department, DeKalb County Police Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, Henry County Police Department, Marietta Police Department and South Fulton Police Department investigated this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Mike Morrison and Tamara Jarrett are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.

“Albert Ross deserves every day in prison that he will ultimately receive after distributing a huge amount of drugs into Middle Georgia,” said FBI Atlanta’s Macon Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Robert Gibbs. “FBI Atlanta and our partners across the state will work non-stop to put drug dealers behind bars and stop them from inflicting pain on Georgia residents.”

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