Officials: $4 million in pot seized in Charleston Co. drug bust

Photo shows only 1/8th of the total marijuana seized.
Photo shows only 1/8th of the total marijuana seized.
Marijuana was concealed inside these pieces of furniture.
Marijuana was concealed inside these pieces of furniture.

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office say over 3,700 pounds of marijuana has been seized in what is being called one of the largest pot seizures ever made in Charleston County.

Deputies held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce two foreign nationals have been arrested after 3,734 pounds of marijuana was seized during a November 6 drug bust. Officials say this is one of the largest narcotics seizures by weight ever in Charleston County.

Officials say Border Patrol discovered the marijuana, which was found pressed between pieces of furniture, in Laredo, Texas. A kilo of marijuana was found wrapped in plastic and paper and painted to look like wood inside each piece of furniture.

Federal agents say the drugs were destined for Charleston and North Carolina. Officials allowed the pot-filled furniture to be shipped to Charleston, where it was then seized at a North Charleston warehouse upon arrival.

The 3,734 pounds of pot was worth $4 million, officials say.

Authorities would not divulge information on how the marijuana would be distributed once it reached Charleston, citing an ongoing investigation.

According to Sheriff Al Cannon, the Mexican Cartel was involved in the attempted smuggling.

"This out to serve as a rather rude awakening wake up call for this community, in the sense of who we are dealing with and the level to which the drug trafficking has come to," Cannon said."Two tons of marijuana with about a street value of $4 million is not the result of some local person with that kind of money laying around. We're talking about Mexican drug cartels."

Cannon said the drugs presented at Tuesday's press conference was "pretty significant evidence that there is a serious and real problem."

"The fact of the matter is the cartels are very active in the United States and this was an initiative of those drug cartels," Cannon said.

"This is an evolution. This is different than it looked when I started law enforcement," North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers said."They are becoming more educated in ways to smuggle marijuana. So we have to get more educated. That's the primary purpose by joining our forces together so we can stamp out the criminal element when they bring things in to our territories."

Participants in the conference included representatives from SLED, the sheriff's office, North Charleston police, the DEA, Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, with each agency playing a role in the bust.

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