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Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 3:21pm

One of the "Largest Meth Labs Ever" Broken up in Gwinnett

Federal agents have arrested more than 300 people in 38 cities. The arrests came in an operation targeting the Mexican drug cartel La Familia.

In Metro Atlanta, Drug Enforcement Agents seized what they describe as one of the largest methamphetamine labs they’ve ever seen as part of the sting.

Federal and local authorities allege La Familia members operated the meth lab in suburban Atlanta. Officers say they seized more than 170 pounds of meth and that 35 area residents were arrested in connection with the sweep. Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter says his office worked in conjunction with the DEA for a year on the investigation, and that despite detailed intelligence, the size of the lab greatly still surprised him.

“But other than that, we were able to identify targets, and locate those targets, and arrest them," says Porter. “And there were really no surprises on that.”

However, neighbors near the lab were surprised of the arrests. La Familia members allegedly set up the shop in a solidly middle class neighborhood, near a park and a middle school.

Porter says the nationwide investigation and sweep began in Gwinnett County after DEA agents contacted local officials about an ambitious plan to round up the gangs.