GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – The Greenville County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit arrested two men following a multi-state drug investigation.
According to a sheriff’s office news release, the drug enforcement unit conducted the investigation with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Birmingham, Alabama and the investigation resulted in the seizure of several kilos of methamphetamine and currency.
During the investigation, investigators identified two people — Jhonatan Ruiz and Juan Carlos Baccerra Zambada, also known as Juan Becerra-Manjarrez — as suppliers and coordinators of large amounts of methamphetamine in Greenville and in Birmingham.
According to the release, investigators conducted surveillance on Sunday in Greenville County and were able to locate the two suspects at a home on Lamont Drive in Greenville, where they were taken into custody.
Before Sunday’s arrests, investigators recovered a pound of methamphetamine sold by one of the suspects and they were able to track the sale to the suspect while identifying the suspects having ties to Sinaloa, Mexico.
“While the investigation cannot 100% confirm the two suspects were directly involved with a cartel organization in Mexico, the amount of narcotics being moved, the documented ties uncovered to Sinaloa, and the way US currency located in this investigation was hidden, definitely raise suspicion that the suspects were moving narcotics for a cartel organization,” Commander Bart McEntire with the drug enforcement unit said.
According to the release, investigators also recovered about six pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and around $7,500 in currency from the home in Greenville.
The investigation took investigators to Birmingham, where they relayed information to Jefferson County investigators about the suspected narcotic distribution.
On Monday, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s Narcotics Unit obtained search warrants for two homes in Birmingham.
A search of the homes revealed 68 grams of methamphetamine, 74 grams of oxycodone tablets, 3 grams of cocaine, $23,206 in currency and three firearms.
According to the release, two people were arrested at those locations in Alabama.
“The two individuals supplied multiple kilo amounts of methamphetamine into the Greenville market on a regular basis prior to the disruption of this pipeline of narcotic misery,” McEntire said. “The seized amounts of methamphetamne equates to more than 3,000 individual dosages of methamphetamine to drug users. With this seizure, we prevented the potential of the drug being abused and potentially causing the chances of an overdose 3,000 times. The amount of narcotics seized easily would have allowed a drug user to inhale, inject, or ingest on at least 3,000 separate occasions.”
“When the new Drug Enforcement Unit was created I envisioned a team of investigators from multiple agencies working in unison to tackle large scale drug operations that are affecting the people of our community. I am so proud that our team did just that with this recent operation,” Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown said. “I hope this sends a clear message to any other drug dealers in and around the upstate of South Carolina that the GCMDEU is up, running and are coming for you in full force.”