Members of a methamphetamine trafficking organization investigated by South Carolina authorities used a Gainesville car wash as a meeting point to sell roughly $100,000 or more of the drug.
Quirino Hernandez, 31, Adam Stone, 28, and Luis Rodriguez, 29, pleaded guilty Oct. 31 to participating in a drug conspiracy.
The three men and others were reportedly responsible for distributing more than $1 million in methamphetamine in upstate South Carolina and other places, according to the South Carolina U.S. Attorney’s Office narcotics unit head Andy Moorman.
Moorman did not disclose the name or more specific location information regarding the car wash. He said there was no evidence of any employees nor anyone with any ownership interest at the car wash being involved.
Hernandez, of Gainesville, was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while Stone received 13 years and Rodriguez received 5 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
During the sentencing hearings, Moorman said Hernandez was the “source of supply for kilograms of methamphetamine” and would meet dealers from Anderson, South Carolina at a Gainesville car wash, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“While at the carwash, Hernandez would sell kilograms of methamphetamine to these drug dealers for tens of thousands of dollars, and they would return to the Upstate of South Carolina to sell the methamphetamine to their customers,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“I’d probably say if I had to guess probably between $100,000 to $200,000 of methamphetamine was purchased at that car wash,” Moorman said.
Authorities would later seize more than $600,000, seven cars and other property.
“The overarching goal of the organization was to go to Georgia to be resupplied with methamphetamine and to bring it back to Anderson and distribute it in the Upstate,” Moorman said.
The sheriff’s office and police in Anderson worked with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies in the case.
“I think it’s a great example of how federal law enforcement working in conjunction with state and local law enforcement can really investigate and prosecute these organizations in a comprehensive way,” Moorman said.