SCSO Announces Arrest

Area authorities arrest a man on multiple charges after a surveillance operation last week.

According to Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley, agents with the Mountain Judicial Circuit N.C.I.S. Unit were conducting a surveillance operation last Wednesday when they observed a vehicle enter one of the locations they were watching. Shirley explained that agents had prior information that a car matching the one they saw last Wednesday was possibly being used to move large quantities of narcotics in and around Stephens County.

The sheriff said that the agents pursued the vehicle onto Oak Valley Road after identifying the driver as 42-year-old Julio Ceasar Moreno of Toccoa and confirming that he did not have a valid driver’s license.

“The individual had turned into a private driveway and jumped out and ran,” said Shirley. “NCIS agents pursued the individual and were able to catch him behind the house.”

Shirley said that a subsequent search of the area where Moreno ran to resulted in agents finding loose currency apparently thrown down during his attempt to flee.

The sheriff said at that point, agents requested assistance from Habersham County’s K-9 unit.

“We were able to retrieve some money that we had hidden under a large log,” said Shirley. “We also retrieved cash he threw out while he was running. We also searched two of his houses on Oak Valley Road and also recovered more money. The total seizure was $10,500.”

According to the sheriff, agents also found a .45 caliber Ruger firearm.

Moreno has been charged with one count of Driving While License Suspended, one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and a probation violation out of the city of Toccoa.

Shirley said more charges are possible in the case.

He added that authorities believe Moreno was a middleman in an area drug operation.

“He was getting shipments of drugs from the metro Atlanta area and bringing them back here to Stephens County where he was using a team of drug dealers to sell for him,” said Shirley. “We are very pleased with the outcome of this investigation that the NCIS team had been working on for some time.”

Not only does Moreno face charges in Stephens County, Shirley said Moreno will also have to deal with the federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, unit.

“We found out that this individual is from California and been here for some time and has been employed here with a company for some time,” said Shirley. “We also found out through ICE that he had been deported three times back to Mexico. He is an illegal alien in the United States. They have placed a hold on him. His original offense in California was robbery and possession with intent to distribute narcotics.”

Shirley said Moreno is currently being held in the Stephens County Jail.