The owner of a Bluffton plumbing company is accused of being a major source of cocaine in Beaufort County and was arrested along with six others after a series of drug raids, authorities said.
Gerardo Duran-Jauregui, 33, also known as Jerry Duran, was the subject of an investigation by the Beaufort/Jasper Multi-Agency Drug Task Force that began in early 2008, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Duran owns Duran Plumbing Services in Bluffton.
"(Duran) is responsible for what you see here," said Sheriff P.J. Tanner, pointing to drugs, handguns, counterfeit money, fake IDs, cell phones, a shotgun and a military-style rifle spread out on a table during a press conference Thursday. "He was a major distributor of cocaine in Beaufort County and in other jurisdictions."
Duran was charged with one count of trafficking cocaine, a felony that carries a jail sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison.
"Duran Plumbing Services may have done some legitimate work," Tanner said, "but we believe it was largely a front for moving cocaine into Beaufort County."
Tanner, Jasper County Sheriff Gregory Jenkins and other members of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies said the arrests chip away at a multi-state drug ring and led to the seizure of more than $135,000 in cash and at least 35 pounds of cocaine.
Investigators linked Duran to Miguel Duran-Gonzalez, a Bluffton resident who was arrested July 6 in Louisiana with about 56 pounds of cocaine, the Sheriff's Office said. Tanner said the drugs were destined for Beaufort County.
Duran-Gonzalez's arrest allowed investigators to zero in on a number of addresses in Beaufort and Jasper counties, including a commercial building in Bluffton.
On Aug. 16, investigators arrived there to find Nicemilio Campos-Alverez, 40, and Abisay Foriano Fuentes, 24, dismantling a 2003 Ford F-250 truck and hiding packages of cocaine inside the vehicle, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Fuentes; Alverez; Jorge Luis Diaz, 18; Jose Luis Duran, 23; and Yomara Anasu Diaz, 29, all were charged with trafficking cocaine and are being held in the Beaufort County Detention Center.