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A good place to hide drugs?
3 arrested after cocaine found in DVD player

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — A Georgia trio thought they had the perfect hiding place for a kilo of cocaine, Sheriff Mike Blakely and investigator Lance Royals said.

A powdery residue, however, gave them away.

Blakely said deputy Matt Wassum pulled over a car with a Georgia tag Monday night at Elkton Road and Buttermilk Way. Wassum got the driver's consent to search the car and called drug officers.

Limestone Lt. Mike Tucker, Athens drug investigator Johnny Morell, Athens investigator Daniel McNatt and Limestone deputy Cody Lewter helped in the search.

"When they opened the trunk, there was a DVD player that had a white residue on it," Blakely said. "When they picked it up, it was heavy."

Tucked inside, Blakely said, was a kilo of cocaine worth about $20,000.

"They didn't think we would find it," Royals said.

Blakely identified the driver as Matthew Vontae Smith, 23, of Riverdale. He said the passengers were Clay Carlton, 35, of Sandy Springs and Alejandro Zonora Gonzalez, 18, of Atlanta.

"They said they were headed to a hotel," Royals said.

In reality, Blakely said, they probably were bringing the cocaine to someone in the area.

"There are different ranks for drug dealers, and to be trusted with this much cocaine, these three have worked their way up from just working the streets," Blakely said.

Royals said Smith doesn't have prior cocaine-related arrests but has a criminal history that includes burglary. He said Carlton has numerous prior drug arrests. Authorities haven't found a criminal history on Gonzalez, but Georgia authorities want him on some type of warrant, Royals aid.

Authorities charged the three with trafficking cocaine. They are in the county jail on $500,000 bond each.

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