ROME, Ga. - A witness testified Thursday that investigators told an undercover informant to talk fast and use a slang term for methamphetamine as part of a sweeping drug sting that defense lawyers contend unfairly targeted South Asian-owned stores.
John Edward Ross told a federal judge that a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent told his cousin to buy pseudoephedrine, which can be used to produce meth, and tell the clerk he was going to make a "cook."
The ACLU wants U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy to toss out the cases against dozens of South Asian merchants indicted last year in Operation Meth Merchant, a sting designed to send a message to retailers knowingly selling methamphetamine-related products to drug makers.
The group contends that prosecutors and police selectively targeted South Asians during an 18-month investigation that aimed to curb the sale of household products used to manufacture methamphetamines, while ignoring white-owned stores in the drug sting.
Ross, who overheard the conversation while preparing to drive his cousin to the store, said when his cousin objected the officer told him they were going to "close these Indian stores down because they can't speak good English."
ACLU on ACLU Reveals Proof of Racial Targeting in Major Meth Investigation