Officials: $4 million pot bust among largest in Charleston history

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies announced they had seized more than 3,700 pounds of marijuana Tuesday. They called it the largest drug bust in Charleston County's history.

According to officials, the bust happened Nov. 6.

Border agents found the marijuana hidden within furniture in a truck at the border in Laredo, Texas. The shipment was bound for Charleston and other locations within the cartel's network in North Carolina, they said.

The drugs were wrapped in plastic and paper and stored inside the furniture in the truck. The pieces of weed were also covered in dyed masking tape.

"Each one of these has about one kilo[gram] of compressed marijuana inside," said Joseph Gallion, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations, as he held each wrapped brick of disguised marijuana. "The coloring is a dye of some sort that would make it look like wood. These were concealed inside furniture."

Officials said the bust is the largest by weight, officials said, but some cocaine seizures have been worth more. Sheriff Al Cannon said the seized marijuana would be worth about $4 million on the street.

"This ought to serve as a rude wake up call for this community in the sense of who we are dealing with and the level to which drug trafficking has come to," Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said. "[Cartels] are a serious and real problem here."

North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers said the cartels are getting more educated, which makes it imperative that communication flow freely between law enforcement agencies.

"Collectively we almost got 4,000 pounds of marijuana. That's what it's going to take across this nation; for us to be talking and to be better than they think we are," Driggers said.

Special agents handling the investigation have arrested two foreign nationals in connection with the case, officials said. The identities of the two people have not been released, as the investigation is ongoing, they said.

Officials would not say how border patrol agents in Texas knew the marijuana was bound for Charleston and wouldn't comment on more details regarding how the smuggling operation was uncovered.

While officials on Tuesday said the bust was the largest in the county's history, a report from the Post and Courier shows that a 1978 bust was valued at $18 million and roughly 7 times larger.

Officials with the county have not commented on that bust.

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