Authorities arrested 28 people from Georgetown County and two neighboring counties Wednesday in connection with an organized drug network that police said shuttled cocaine from Mexico to South Carolina.
Armed with search warrants, law-enforcement officials from several local, state and federal agencies made arrests during pre-dawn raids in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties.
Eleven of the people taken into custody were charged with drug conspiracy, sixteen others were picked up on suspicion of being in the country illegally and one individual was detained on a local bench warrant.
Lt. Kelvin Waites with the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office declined to discuss details about the yearlong probe, saying it is ongoing and that more arrests are possible.
Investigators also confiscated more than 8.5 kilograms of cocaine, about $309,000 and eight vehicles, authorities said.
Assisting the Georgetown Organized Crime Bureau in the investigation were the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI; Drug Enforcement Administration; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The U.S. Marshals Office, U.S. Secret Service, the S.C. Highway Patrol and the Williamsburg County Sheriff's Office helped round up the suspects.
Investigators say the group transported the cocaine from Mexico to Georgetown County where it was sold to distributors who made it available to dealers throughout the state and in other parts of the country.
The drug organization is accused of distributing about 100 kilograms of cocaine since November 2004, authorities said.
Arrested on drug conspiracy were Rodrigo Aguilar, Alberto Vega, Jobie Lance, Clinton Grant and Jamal Grove, all in the city of Georgetown; Andrews residents Juan Antonez, Terrill Chandler, Moises Castillo and Clifford McCray; Juvencio Olguin Resendiz of Georgetown County and Miguel Martenez of Williamsburg County.