NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Two Texas men have been convicted of distributing cocaine while at a North Myrtle Beach resort in 2017.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon, 30-year-old Abraham Arturo Rodriguez and 23-year-old Ruben Rodriguez, both from Brownsville, Texas, were convicted this week of conspiring to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine after a three-day jury trial in Florence.
The 12-person jury unanimously found both men guilty of the maximum crimes charged after a short deliberation. Abraham Rodriguez faces 20 years to life imprisonment, while Ruben Rodriguez faces 10 years to life, the release stated.
Evidence presented at the trial showed the two men came from the southwest border and rented a room at a beachfront resort in North Myrtle Beach to be their base of operations.
The two reportedly coordinated the delivery of more than 50 kilograms of cocaine, valued at more than $1.5 million, 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.”
According to the release, the cocaine was stored in average-looking residences in middle-class neighborhoods where families lived and resided. Inside these 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.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits were then carried back to Myrtle Beach by the men, who shipped those funds to their associates at the Mexican border via overnight mail.
Evidence further showed that while staying in South Carolina, the men and their associates spent large amounts of cash partying at Myrtle Beach nightclubs, buying high-end vehicles, and taking expensive trips to cities such as Charleston.
On Nov. 5, 2017, Drug Enforcement Agency agents and North Myrtle Beach officers armed with a federal search warrant raided the Rodríguezes’ North Myrtle Beach hotel room and found more than $143,000 in drug proceeds and a small amount of cocaine.
Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury. Soon thereafter, Ruben Rodriguez was arrested crossing back into the United States at the Mexican border. Abraham Rodriguez was arrested in Las Vegas, the release stated.