COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Dozens of South Carolinians have been charged for their alleged role in a Mexican cartel’s drug ring.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the State Grand Jury issued indictments in the drug trafficking case known as ‘Las Senoritas’.

Officials say the investigation was named “Las Señoritas” because several of the main targets are women who have allegedly fled to Mexico to escape prosecution in the United States. Attorney General Wilson said one defendant is supposedly married to a cartel member.

According to investigators, methamphetamine originating from a Mexican drug cartel was being trafficking from Atlanta to the Upstate by the defendants. Law enforcement say they seized 25 kilograms of meth estimated to be worth $800,000.

In total, 43 people are collectively facing 170 charges Wilson said. Some of those people allegedly helping coordinate the trafficking were already serving time behind bars.

South Carolina prosecutors, law enforcement and prison officials say this case is another example of illegal use of cell phones in state prisons.

“We continually keep coming back to the same problem. We have been barking about this for a number of years,” Wilson said.

South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling once again made a plea to federal regulators to allow cell-phone jamming technology at state prisons.

“People’s live are at risk with these prison cell phones,” Stirling said. According to Director Stirling, contraband cell phones make it into the hands of prisoners in a variety of ways like drone drops and corrupt staff.

Back in 2021, the FCC approved technology that prison officials say would help reduce the use of contraband cellphones.

The technology would allow prison officials to get a contraband cell phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. They can then send that information to cell phone carriers and the phone can be shut down.

Stirling is asking federal regulators to expedite this process. “This is not just a South Carolina problem. This is a nationwide problem. Every prison system, county jails are having this issue where people are being convicted come to prison. They continue their ways as we’ve seen today.”

Attorney General Wilson says the investigation into the drug ring is ongoing.

For more details on the indictments click or tap here.