From a closet inside the house, cops seize a shopping bag with a $250,000 in cash. Also seized: six pounds of methamphetamine, with a street value of another quarter-million dollars.
Four rival Mexican drug cartels have dug in along Atlanta's interlocking highways, a shipping link to the rest of America.
"I classify Atlanta as a strategic operations center for Mexican organized crime," said Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta DEA. "They were able to blend right in and establish metro Atlanta as that strategic trans-shipment point."
DEA Web site
For the last seven months, CBS News has followed Steve Whipple, a DEA field supervisor.
Tailing a suspect named Gilberto Alcaraz, he says Alcaraz represents, "a mid-level distributor."
For Alcaraz, it's a family business. CBS News footage shows his 13-year-old son settling a drug debt with a woman.
Gilberto's house is low-key considering that Whipple says he earns $50,000 a week.
Whipple said, "They're going to drive the beat-up pickup, and they're going to try to look like they're running a landscaping business."
Mexico's drug cartels are now the main suppliers in at least 230 U.S. cities, and dominate 70 percent of America's illegal drug market.
Just outside Atlanta, Gwinnett County is their new drug hub.
The District Attorney Danny Porter said, "We're finding them trans-shipping cocaine through Atlanta to Miami. So the days of cigarette boats and pastel suits - those are gone. I guess we're the new Miami Vice."
After nine weeks of surveillance, Whipple took down Alcaraz - searched his house, and made another arrest.
It's one interruption, in the daily surge of drugs and cash flowing between Atlanta's quiet suburbs and Mexico's meanest streets.