Mexican drug pipeline to South Carolina shut down by DEA

| 2/7/2011

An illegal immigrant from Mexico living in the U.S. has been charged with arranging for large loads of marijuana from Mexico to be hauled by commercial truck from Texas to South Carolina.

According to court documents, federal prosecutors say Gaudalberto Morales-Salazar was a “major drug trafficker” who brought marijuana and cocaine to South Carolina from at least January 2010 to January 2011.

Agents seized enough ledgers and marijuana to allege that Morales-Salazar has received and/or distributed more than 8,000 pounds of marijuana, according to court documents. At his residence in Elgin, SC, agents found between 800 and 1,000 pounds of marijuana, a loaded .380 caliber handgun, ledgers and other items for processing marijuana. At his Columbia, SC, residence, agents found nearly $1.2 million in cash in a bedroom.

Morales-Salazar has been charged in U.S. District Court in South Carolina with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana.

Morales Salazar posted bond after a 2010 arrest. He then fled to Mexico, and was a fugitive of the state of South Carolina before his arrest in late January, according to court records.

At least six other individuals have been arrested in the case, including a truck driver who said he delivered three loads of drugs for $10,000 each. In court, all but the truck driver admitted they were in the country illegally.

The case was investigated by the DEA and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.