In the southeast, a massive drug bust resulted in 124 indictments against 34 suspects accused of being involved with a Mexican cartel that traffics cocaine and methamphetamine.
The Greenville, South Carolina, owners of the Los Primos restaurant have been indicted by a grand jury, according to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. The attorney general’s office said the restaurant was a major regional center through which narcotics were smuggled to other states, with some substances allegedly transported out of taco trucks owned by the proprietors.
“The upstate has developed into a hub,” Wilson said at a press conference. “Clearly, the I-85 corridor from Charlotte to Atlanta is an artery for this sort of criminal behavior.”
The case, known as “Los Banditos” by authorities, has resulted in the seizure of nearly 11 kg (24 lbs.) of methamphetamine, 584 grams (1.3 lbs.) of cocaine, roughly $63,000 in cash, and approximately 20 firearms thus far in South Carolina.
“This large drug trafficking organization was anything but shocking,” said Walt Wilkins, a solicitor.
According to authorities, the suspects are accused of transporting over 1,000 kg (one ton) of crystal meth, 100 kg (220 lbs.) of cocaine, and 2 kg (4.4 lbs.) of heroin across the state.
The scale of illicit narcotics moving through upstate South Carolina has never been higher, according to Wilkins.
“It’s a lot more significant,” he added. “There’s a lot more volume flowing into our towns. It’s a lot more organized, as you can see in this instance. Thousands of kilos of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine were pouring into Greenville County.”
Over 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine equivalent to more than $75 million in street value was seized by police.
The drug bust was made possible through the cooperation between South Carolina, Georgia, and federal investigators. The Atlanta operation utilized information from the Los Banditos investigation to make another bust, where authorities confiscated around 200 kilos (441 lbs.) of crystal meth, 3.5 kilos (7.7 lbs.) of cocaine, 3.2 kgs (7 lbs.) of heroin, 5oz of cocaine that was mixed with fentanyl, 183 lbs. of marijuana, 900 Xanax pills, and numerous weapons from stash houses in apartments according to the attorney general’s office.
The drug ring was said to be connected to a Mexican drug cartel, according to investigators. According to Attorney General Wilson, drugs in the southeast are typically smuggled across the southern border and delivered in Atlanta before being sent out into neighboring states.