Woman wanted in connection to Lumpkin County meth ring

Image 1 of 12

Deputies in Lumpkin County are searching for a 32-year-old woman investigators said is connected to a multi-million dollar meth traffic operation.

A warrant has been issued for Clara Catarino Mendoza following the arrest of five men over the weekend during a traffic stop and a subsequent raid on two meth labs. Investigators believe Mendoza fled with her two middle school children.

FOX 5 News has learned Mendoza has been a longtime community member working at a local restaurant for eight years.

This all started a week ago with a traffic stop where authorities found 15 kilograms of methamphetamine and arrested Angel Luis Rivera-Santiago and Victor Rafael Aponte.

RELATED: Traffic stop leads to multi-million dollar meth bust

Following the arrests, local, state and federal officers executed search warrants at a number of residential homes in Union County.

On Tuesday, agents went to a home down a dirt road on Antique Way, where they found a second conversion lab and all the equipment needed to convert liquid meth to its crystal form along with two AR-15 rifles, a pistol grip gun, and a handgun.

At the home, they also found seven 55-gallon drums, three of which tested positive for meth.

Investigators said they have linked Mendoza to the home and at least one other property.

Investigators cannot say how long this operation had been in the works.