Authorities seized what is believed to be one of the largest heroin seizures in Orangeburg County’s history on Friday, according to the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office.
Thanks to the combined efforts of Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office narcotics agents, the DEA, and the Highway Patrol, officers seized what came out to be 4.4 pounds of heroin in one traffic stop on Friday, says Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell. The haul has an estimated street value of $250,000 to $300,000, according to Ravenell.
Investigators say a three-agency team was working an area on Friday that centered on the interchange of I-95 and I-26 and the four spokes of the two highways, when troopers noticed a white Dodge truck weaving across the center line around mile marker 148 westbound on I-26 around 8 p.m. When the white Dodge truck was stopped, “Gus,” an OCSO German Shepherd trained in narcotics detection, alerted that narcotics were in the vehicle, according to deputies.
A careful search turned up a hidden compartment inside the truck known in the trade as a “trap,” deputies say. Inside the trap, investigators say they found two kilograms - or 4.4 pounds - of heroin wrapped in black plastic and $15,900 in cash. The truck was seized to be searched in the next few days for any more hidden compartments, according to deputies.
Investigators say the driver of the vehicle, 42-year-old Javier Perez Flores, of Guadalajara, Mexico, according to an identification card of that country, was taken into custody by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Flores was briefly held at the Orangeburg County Detention Center before being moved to an undisclosed facility. He will face a federal magistrate for a bond hearing on federal charges of trafficking heroin, according to deputies.
Agents said Flores admitted he was bringing the shipment from Mexico. Prior to Friday’s stop, Flores was less than two hours from what he said was his intended destination – Charlotte, NC.
Investigators say the bagged narcotics are being handled with extreme caution as heroin is often “cut” or mixed with other chemicals that are sometimes more dangerous than the heroin itself, agents say.
“I’m very proud of our agents, which includes Gus, and those of the Highway Patrol and the DEA,” Ravenell said. “Together these agents stopped a major heroin shipment from reaching the streets. The bad part for the ones carrying this is this team is going back out.”