DRUG DEALERS; Who are the Drug Dealers in South Carolina?
Posted in the South Carolina Forum
#1 Jul 15, 2007
South Carolina is an end user, a staging area, and transshipment state for all illegal drugs. There has been increasing evidence of organizational activity extending to major distribution hubs, such as: New York, Florida, Atlanta, Texas, California and Mexico.
#2 Jul 15, 2007
Interstate 95,“America’s Drug Pipeline,” passes through South Carolina between New York City and Miami, Florida. From Mexico and the Southwest border states, traffickers travel daily on Interstates 20 and 85 to supply Northeastern states with cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, and heroin. Five major interstates run through the State of South Carolina: I-85, I-26, I-77, I-20, and I-95.
#3 Jul 15, 2007
Cocaine: An increase in trafficking along the coast has been noted in recent years, particularly in the tourist areas of Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Georgetown, and Beaufort. Cocaine and crack cocaine are readily available and distributed throughout the State. Traffickers use an array of smuggling methods to include private vehicles, commercial fishing vessels,commercial tractor-trailers, and containerized cargo via our ports
#4 Jul 15, 2007
Money Laundering: Drug proceeds are usually moved by commercial tractor-trailers and privately owned vehicles. These vehicles are frequently equipped with special electronically controlled compartments. Money transfers, vehicle and real estate purchases, clothing stores, and details shops are all part of the process of laundering money throughout the State.
#5 Jul 15, 2007
Cocaine production estimates for 2005 are significantly higher because of newly discovered coca fields in Colombia.
South Texas remains the leading entry area for cocaine smuggled into the United States.
Mexican DTOs have developed Atlanta as a staging area for direct wholesale cocaine distribution to East Coast drug markets.
#6 Jul 15, 2007
South Carolina's cocaine trade, which was attacked more than a decade ago by lawmakers and assailed ever since by law enforcement, is thriving and possibly growing, according to state court records and law enforcement officials.
The drug, which most recently popped into the public eye with the indictment of state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel on a federal cocaine conspiracy charge, remains a potent force fueled in part demand from affluent South Carolinians, officials say. Its impact reaches into big cities and small towns alike.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the State Law Enforcement Division and the Greenville County Sheriff's office all have noted increases in usage, cocaine seizures or arrests during the past two years.
"There is still a substantial demand for cocaine in South Carolina," said John Ozaluk, agent in charge the DEA's state operations.
#7 Jul 15, 2007
But cocaine and cocaine base, commonly referred to as crack, are still far and away the most prevalent drug that we see on the prosecutorial end," he said. "It is a difficult and sad commentary to make, but at the end of my six years at the U.S. Attorney's Office, cocaine was every bit as readily available, and the price had not changed, as the day I started."
The DEA last year reported seizing a total of 153 kilograms of cocaine, or about 336 pounds, in the state, more than all other drugs combined.
"There is still a substantial demand for cocaine in South Carolina," said John Ozaluk, the DEA agent in charge of the agency's S.C. operations. "It's a very strong drug. People have lost their homes, their families and their fortunes in spending on cocaine over the years."
#8 Jul 15, 2007
The drug shipments are flowing nearly unhindered from Colombia into Venezuela, then leaving by the ton on ships and planes making deliveries for the multibillion-dollar U.S. and European markets, the officials say. They say high-level corruption has also helped make Venezuela a major haven for drug smugglers running from the law.
The cocaine passing through Venezuela on President Hugo Chávez's watch has risen by as much as 30 tons a year since 2002, reaching an estimated 300 tons in 2006, according to outgoing U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield. That's roughly a third of the world's supply.
In the 12 months leading up to Sept. 14, 2004, U.S. surveillance tracked 38 suspected drug flights from Venezuela to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. The following year, that number grew to 64, and the next to 115. In the 6 1/2 months up to March 31, there were already 99 more.
#9 Jul 15, 2007
CHARLESTON,SC A woman who was the December 2006 Playboy Playmate of the Month and a personal trainer have been charged with trafficking cocaine after police say maids discovered a kilo of the drug in their hotel room.
Arrest warrants say that 24-year-old Kia Terrell Drayton and 33-year-old Otis Leon Story, both of Atlanta, were arrested as they left their room at the Residence Inn near North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday morning.
Their bail was set at $2.2 million each and they remained in jail last night.
Police say when they searched the gold Cadillac Escalade Drayton was driving, they found two handguns. Police say they seized more than 1,100 grams of cocaine.
#10 Jul 15, 2007
August 19, 2002
LAW ENFORCEMENT DEALS MAJOR BLOW TO
North Charleston Drug Dealers Taken Off the Street
Mayor Keith Summey, North Charleston, SC, North Charleston Chief of Police Jon Zumalt, Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Al Cannon and John Andrejko, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administrations' Atlanta Field Division in conjunction with Strom Thurmond, Jr., United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina and Ralph Hoisington, Solicitor for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina jointly announced the indictment and arrest of 19 persons involved in multiple large scale crack cocaine distribution organizations in North Charleston, South Carolina.
In addition to the 19 subjects who were indicted on federal drug charges, an additional 11 persons involved with these organizations were charged with violations of the drug laws of South Carolina. The indictments and arrests are the result of an 8 month cooperative effort involving the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the North Charleston Police Department, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Marshal's Service. Also affected during this 8 month period was the arrest of over 300 retail level drug traffickers from the streets of North Charleston through a concentrated and coordinated effort by the North Charleston Police Department S.P.E.E.D.(Selective Police Enforcement to Enhance and Deter) and P.A.C.(Police And Community) Teams to address the problem of open air drug markets.
North Charleston Mayor Summey stated "We are very pleased that the Drug Enforcement Administration recognized our need for assistance to rid our streets of drug traffickers. Today's events are the culmination of many months of our combined efforts. With DEA's further assistance in addressing the demand for drugs we will now return to these communities to begin the process of rebuilding them."
John Andrejko, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division, stated "Working together with our state and local counterparts is a great way of ridding our neighborhoods of drugs and arresting those who sell them."
The investigation started in January of 2002 in response to a request for assistance from the Office of the Mayor of North Charleston. The DEA Atlanta Field Division provided a Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) comprised of Special Agents that worked closely with the North Charleston Police Department, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office and the DEA's Charleston Resident Office to identity the primary distributors of cocaine in North Charleston. The investigation revealed that the subjects indicted in this investigation were the top echelon of distribution organizations operating in 6 communities in North Charleston. These distribution organizations were collectively responsible for significant quantities of crack cocaine that was distributed in the city of North Charleston.
#11 Jul 15, 2007
Drug ring raises concerns about U.S. port security
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT FILE PHOTO
January 27, 2007
NORFOLK - Federal authorities have been investigating a drug ring involving longshoremen and illegal immigrants who smuggled hundreds of pounds of cocaine into the country through the Hampton Roads and Charleston, S.C., ports.
Federal agents have discovered that a group of Panamanians has been sneaking cocaine onto cargo ships during stopovers at the Panama Canal and paying off longshoremen to help unload the drugs at the ports here and in Charleston, according to court records filed by federal prosecutors.
Three people have been charged in Norfolk federal court so far, and a number of others are in Charleston.
The case began locally in 1999 when U.S. Customs agents discovered a shipment of cocaine in a container at Norfolk International Terminals, but only in the past 18 months have authorities been able to crack deep into the ring.
The investigation highlights the vulnerability of the nation's ports.
#12 Jul 15, 2007
On Aug. 23, 1999, Customs and Border Protection agents at Norfolk International Terminals discovered a gym bag inside a cargo container. When they opened the bag, they found a package wrapped in foil and smeared with motor oil. Unfolding the foil, they found 21 individual packets of cocaine weighing more than 50 pounds total.
A longshoreman spotted near the container was questioned and arrested by Norfolk police. He told authorities that he was to be paid $20,000 to $30,000 to help the Panamanians off-load the drugs, according to the court records. While the records say the longshoreman was arrested, there is no record of the case in Norfolk Circuit Court.
The investigation fell quiet for three years when, in April 2002, Customs agents in Charleston discovered about 7 pounds of cocaine stashed in a cargo container.
Two individuals, including a longshoreman, were arrested in that case and have since been convicted. With their cooperation, federal agents were led to Panamanian Martin Delgado.
"Delgado has been identified as the leader of a drug trafficking organization facilitating the smuggling of cocaine and heroin into the United States from Panama via the ports of Hampton Roads," states a criminal complaint filed last fall in U.S. District Court against a co-defendant.
In the summer of 2005, federal agents discovered three separate shipments of drugs inside cargo containers at NIT. One package of cocaine weighed about 99 pounds and another contained 3 pounds of heroin.
With each case, the high-security seals on the container doors had been breached. Authorities think the containers, which largely originated from Asia, were opened at the Panama Canal during transfers to other cargo ships, the drugs secreted and the doors resealed.
#13 Jul 15, 2007
Drug pipeline flows from Mexico to S.C.
Apr 15 2007
"Smugglers increasingly are crossing the southern U.S. border by land to bring drugs into the state
Enrique Valdovinos ran the Mexican restaurant Los Caporales — which means “The Cattle Bosses”— on Two Notch Road just outside Columbia.
But Valdovinos, 36, had a secret life. He had hidden in a car trunk to enter the United States illegally and had gone into drug smuggling. In fact, he had become a major local dealer, bringing into the Midlands up to 100 kilograms of cocaine worth almost $2 million in recent years.
Sentenced in February to 10 years in prison, Valdovinos represents a new trend in South Carolina’s thriving drug trade: Mexico is now the state’s primary source of illegal drugs, federal, state and local agents say.
Even the cocaine produced in South America is being moved into South Carolina primarily through Mexico.
Mexican drug rings “dominate trafficking in South Carolina,” according to a February report from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the nation’s lead drug-fighting agency. South Carolinians in rural and urban areas now consume Mexican drugs.
Mexican carriers transport cocaine on S.C. highways, harvest marijuana from rural fields and receive shipments of marijuana at some Hispanic stores, according to state and federal court records. They also have supplied methampethamines across the state as local meth production declines. And some even have been charged with distributing free samples of heroin to recovering addicts in the Charleston area.
“If you trace cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine back far enough, they come out of Mexico and are brought to our area,” said John Ozaluk, head of the Columbia office of the DEA.
Like any nimble business owners, the drug lords reacted quickly when new S.C. and federal laws made it difficult to obtain pseudoephedrine, a major ingredient in highly addictive meth. Thus, just as South Carolina’s numerous “mom and pop” meth labs were declining sharply, Mexican suppliers began moving large quantities of meth — purer and more addictive — into the United States, Payne said.
National seizures of meth have fallen dramatically. In 2004, police and federal agents seized 17,170 labs and dump sites; in 2005, 12,484; in 2006, 6,435, according to the DEA.
Meanwhile, Mexican drug rings, operating on both sides of the border, now account for at least 80 percent of the meth consumed in the United States, according to the DEA.
“Mexicans have filled the void,” Payne said.
Seizures of all drugs along the border remain considerable.
Although admittedly incomplete because so many agencies are involved, DEA statistics along the U.S.-Mexican border show that in 2006, agents seized 12.7 tons of cocaine, 496 tons of marijuana, 268 pounds of heroin and 1,559 pounds of meth.
#14 Jul 15, 2007
The history of investigations conducted by the Charleston RO reveals that a significant portion of the cocaine and marijuana distributed by coastal South Carolina distribution organizations originated from Charleston port smuggling activities. It is a well-known fact that traffickers utilize forty-foot and twenty-foot containers to transport contraband secreted inside these containers with legitimate commercial products. It is a conservative estimate that for every container loaded with illegal drugs discovered at the Charleston port, at least nine other containers with illegal drugs have slipped through without detection. The port of Charleston is the second largest containerized seaport on the eastern seaboard of the United States and handles over 1.5 million containers of the over 11 million containers that enter or pass through U.S. ports per year. Currently there are three terminals; however, a fourth may be opened in the near future. Despite this intimidating volume of containers, the USCS has only 10 inspectors to service the inspection requirements in three Charleston port facilities and they must rely on Confidential Source information and container profiling to maximize their chances of success. These 10 Customs Inspectors are only able to actually inspect less than 1 % of the containers destined to or passing through Charleston. Recent investigations have shown that there are numerous "cells" of traffickers working at the port with or as longshoremen to bring cocaine, marijuana and heroin into the United States from overseas (Panama, Colombia, etc.).
#15 Jul 15, 2007
Maritime Seizures in South Carolina
During June 2000, U.S. Customs Service (USCS) agents seized 55.5 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated value of $1.1 million during an inspection of a container ship at the Port of Charleston. The cocaine was found in two bags concealed in a shipment of toilets aboard the 484-foot container ship. The vessel, registered in Germany, arrived in Charleston from San Antonio, Chile.
During June 1998, at the Wando Terminal, the largest terminal at the Port of Charleston, authorities seized 1,403 kilograms of cocaine hidden in soft luggage inside a 40-foot shipping container on a Greek-flagged vessel. The ship arrived from Colombia, South America, by way of the Bahamas. The cocaine had an estimated street value of $100 million and was the largest seizure in South Carolina history. The leader of the drug smuggling ring was from Savannah, Georgia.
#16 Jul 15, 2007
Customs Drug Seizure Leads to International Smuggling Ring
Commissioner Kelly's Message
(01/31/2000)On January 21, police authorities in Peru arrested nine targets of an international cocaine smuggling ring based in that country with distribution points in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel. This brought to sixteen the total number of suspects arrested in an international investigation that spanned four continents and involved U.S. Customs and the Drug Enforcement Administration. One of those arrested was an escaped Israeli national wanted for homicide.
The investigation stemmed from a seizure this past November at the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, where Customs Inspectors discovered a little over one hundred pounds of cocaine hidden inside a 20 foot container originating from Peru. They referred their finding to the local Resident-Agent-In-Charge office, which conducted the preliminary investigation and subsequent coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration. An international controlled delivery ensued that revealed the major figures involved in the smuggling ring.
The success of this investigation came about as a direct result of the fine work by Customs Inspectors and Special Agents in Charleston working together following the initial seizure. Customs' continued participation in the case yielded important leads for national authorities and strengthened their investigations.
Customs routinely makes narcotics seizures like the one in Charleston. The importance of these actions is sometimes lost in the seemingly endless cycle of seizures and arrests that occur every day on our front lines. But this investigation demonstrates how large criminal organizations can be taken down through a chain that starts by tracing small loads of narcotics. It also shows how U.S. Customs' law enforcement actions at the border can have an impact that goes far beyond our national boundaries.
#17 Jul 15, 2007
New York : The Hellbound Crips
This joint FBI/New York Police Department investigation targeted a violent Crips subset known as the Hellbound Crips, responsible for 15 homicides, 13 attempted homicides, and extensive narcotics trafficking in New York and South Carolina. Five search warrants were conducted in conjunction with the arrest of 48 members of the gang. Indictments were handed down against 49 gang members, including five who were eligible for the death penalty.
#18 Jul 15, 2007
The state of Georgia is both a final destination point for drug shipments and a smuggling corridor for drugs transported along the East Coast. Extensive interstate highway, rail, and bus transportation networks, as well as international, regional, and private air and marine ports of entry serve the state. Moreover, Georgia is strategically located on the I-95 corridor between New York City and Miami, the key wholesale-level drug distribution centers on the East Coast and major drug importation hubs. In addition, Interstate Highway 20 runs directly into Georgia from drug entry points along the Southwest Border and Gulf Coast. The city of Atlanta has become an important strategic point for drug trafficking organizations as it is the largest city in the South and has a nexus for all East/West and North/South travel. The entire state, Atlanta in particular, has experienced phenomenal growth over the last several years with a corresponding increase in drug crime and violence. With Georgia bordering North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, Alabama and Florida, Atlanta is the base for several major dealers who maintain trafficking cells in these states; especially Mexican-based traffickers who hide within legitimate Hispanic enclaves.
#19 Jul 17, 2007
The law makers are the provider. The less fortunate are the dealers. It has to make it here some how. Now doesnt it.
#20 Jul 19, 2007
I do believe that if the DEA contacted the Polk County NC Sheriff's Dept. all could work in conjunction...there is a very large amount of meth and cocaine traveling through spartanburg on 26 and Hwy.9 into Polk and hendersonville.
I've noticed a rather large increase in Meth addiction in both Spartanburg and polk county.
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