AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WFXG) - After a year long investigation, 19 people across South Carolina are now behind bars for importing hundreds of kilos of cocaine. A total of eleven people were arrested in Aiken on drug possession and trafficking charges early Tuesday morning.
Sheriff Michael Hunt with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office said a drug bust of this size is one for the record books, and should serve as a warning for dealers across the Palmetto state.
"This is probably one of the largest operations in this county, in the history of this county," Sheriff Hunt said.
Kilos of cocaine, more than forty firearms, and close to $1 million in cash. All taken as part of a year-long federal operation in the Palmetto State, and now, 19 people have been federally indicted and arrested.
"We're getting the job done. And I understand it takes a long time, but it's the time that we live in. These operations take a long time," said Sheriff Hunt.
Four people from Aiken County are on the list of federal indictments, and seven more have been arrested on related drug trafficking charges.
Sheriff Hunt said one of the people arrested in the state-wide operation had a direct tie to Mexican cartels, and all the law enforcement agencies involved are relieved these criminal are off the streets.
But just because the operation is over, doesn't mean law enforcement agents are backing off of drug dealers.
"They should expect much more intense enforcement from our narcotics division now that this operation is over with," Sheriff Hunt said. "We will develop partnerships and work together with anyone that we have to to bring this kind of unlawful conduct to a halt."
The following people have been federally indicted and arrested:
- Damonion Mckinzie Bing
- Alvaro Valencia-Gonzalez
- Travis Jermaine Pough
- Antonio Terrill Sweat
The following people have been arrested on related drug charges:
- Francisco Javier Cruz Ponee
- Tania Monserrat Arreola Pedraza
- Iqnacio Eliseo Allocer Pedraza
- Brian Rodrigo Pedraza Arreola
- Carlos Martin Orozco Gonzalez
- Timothy Byron Jackson
- Kendra Shenae Bessix
The federal case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J.D. Rowell and Kelly Hall.