I-77 traffic stop turns up thousands of dollars in cocaine

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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YORK COUNTY, S.C. - A special highway drug team made a surprise discovery Tuesday after stopping a suspicious car on Interstate 77 in York County.
 
Agents with the York County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement unit stopped a northbound Ford 500 they said was speeding and tailgating in the area of Porter Road on I-77.
 
Inside the car were three men, who told police they were on their way to Pennsylvania.  Marvin Brown leads the drug unit, and was there when the stop was made.
 
"The driver didn't have a driver's license.  He handed them an ID from Mexico," Brown said.  "All kinds of red flags started going up."
 
The Highway Drug Interdiction team uses a drug dog, and the dog focused on the trunk area of the car. 
 
Inside, police said they found a wooden post, and inside the post was more than a pound of cocaine, a half kilo, worth about $50,000 on the street.
 
Drug agents charged Eloy Eligio Torro-Castro, 51, Felix Maria Rodriquez-Urena, 48, and Rafael Antonio Vazquez-Valentin, 33, with trafficking cocaine.
 
The two-person team works I-77 targeting speeders and other violations, but often finds much more.
 
Brown said they made a sizable drug seizure for one quick stop.
 
"Just think of how much work you'd have to do in a neighborhood to get $50,000 worth of cocaine off the street, and they did that in just one stop," he said.
 
The stretch of road between Atlanta, Columbia and Charlotte is considered a prime area for drug trafficking because of the number of nearby interstates connecting those cities.
 
Several police agencies in the Charlotte area have similar units that focus on stopping drug shipments on those roads.
 
All three suspects are still in jail in York County on a $50,000 bond each.