Two Texas men have been convicted of trafficking cocaine through Myrtle Beach and both face possible life sentences.
Abraham Arturo Rodriguez, 30, and Ruben Rodriguez, 23, both of Brownsville, Texas, were convicted of conspiring to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine during a jury trial in Florence, according to a press release from Sherri A. Lydon United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina. A 12-person jury unanimously found both men guilty.
Abraham Rodriguez faces 20 years to life in prison “based on his role in the offense and a prior drug conviction,” the release says. Ruben Rodriguez faces 10 years to life in prison.
“The evidence presented at trial showed that the two men came from the southwest border and rented a room at an upscale beachfront resort in North Myrtle Beach to be their base of operations,” states the release. “From their high-rise hotel room, the Rodríguezes coordinated the delivery of more than 50 kilograms of cocaine, drugs valued at more than $1,500,000, from January through November 2017.”
The men “smuggled most of the cocaine” to “stash houses” in the Fayetteville, North Carolina area “using clandestine work trucks,” the release also says. To avoid detection by law enforcement, the cocaine “was stored in average-looking residences in middle class neighborhoods were families lived and resided.” Inside those “otherwise normal-looking homes, drug dealers armed with assault weapons kept watch over safes full of kilogram-sized bricks of cocaine and sold it to other drug dealers who came from as far away as Washington, DC, to purchase wholesale quantities of drugs.”
Money from the drugs was “then carried back to Myrtle Beach” by the men and shipped to “their associates at the Mexican border via overnight mail,” according to the release. Evidence also shows “that while staying in South Carolina, Rodriguezes’ and their criminal associates spent large amounts of cash partying at Myrtle Beach nightclubs, buying high-end vehicles, and taking expensive excursions to cities such as Charleston, South Carolina.”
On November 5, 2017, DEA agents and North Myrtle Beach officers “armed with a federal search warrant raided the Rodriguezes’ North Myrtle Beach hotel room, finding more than $143,000 in drug proceeds and a small amount of cocaine,” states the release. Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury and “soon thereafter, Ruben was arrested crossing back into the United States at the Mexican border.” Abraham was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada and “both men have been in continuous custody since their arrest on these federal charges, and they will remain in custody until they serve out their federal sentences.”
The South Carolina case was investigated by the DEA and the North Myrtle Beach Police Department. The case was opened “based on a tip” provided by officers from the Fayetteville Police Department, the DEA, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.