On August 24, 2022, Dustin Tyler Burgess, age 34, of Ellijay, GA, and Uriel C. Mendoza, age 30, of Copperhill, TN, were arrested and both charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of children.

Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office (ARDEO) agents received information of suspicious activity occurring at the address of 2064 New Franklin Church Road, Canon, GA. Agents obtained and executed a search warrant at the location and discovered an active methamphetamine conversion lab inside one of the buildings on the property. The structure was a horse stable being used to convert liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine for distribution. Due to the size of the lab, agents contacted the DEA Clan Lab Team to assist in the collection of evidence and disposal of hazardous materials. Agents seized approximately five kilograms of finished crystal methamphetamine and approximately 255 gallons of liquid methamphetamine solution. It is estimated the amount of liquid methamphetamine solution that the lab was likely capable of producing was over 700 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of over $7.8 million.

Agencies assisting in this investigation include the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Banks County Sheriff's Office, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, and the DEA Clan Lab Team.

For additional information about Appalachian RDEO or to provide tips on criminal activity look for ARDEO@appalachiandtf on twitter or follow on facebook@appalachianrdeo and/or Instagram.

The Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office is a multi-agency unit that consists of the following Sheriff’s Offices: White County, Lumpkin County, Banks County, Jackson County, Habersham County, Stephens County, Rabun County, Franklin County, Gilmer County, Fannin County, the Cleveland Police Department and the Toccoa Police Department, along with the Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, the Department of Public Safety, Department of Community Supervision and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.


Special Agent in Charge Trent Hillsman