North Charleston raids net 3 suspects, cocaine, marijuana

A North Charleston narcotics detective displays 10 pounds of marijuana seized in a drug raid Monday.

North Charleston police seized about 5 pounds of cocaine worth nearly a quarter-million dollars on the street during an undercover operation Tuesday that led to the arrest of two suspected drug runners, authorities said.

The bust marked the second large drug seizure for police this week. On Monday, police grabbed 10 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $50,000 during a search of a Dorchester Road apartment, police said.

"This was important," Deputy Police Chief Reggie Burgess said. "We kept drugs from getting on the streets of North Charleston."

Tuesday's arrests by the narcotics unit and SPEED Team resulted from information police received about two men working as drug mules or runners to bring large quantities of cocaine into the North Charleston area, Burgess said.

Police think the cocaine was coming from Georgia.

Investigators mined informants to learn more about the men and then arranged a meeting to buy about 2 kilograms for about $50,000 Tuesday at a location on Rivers Avenue, Burgess said. Once the cash was exchanged for drugs, police moved in and arrested the two men, he said.

Santamaria M. Yanez, 37, of Summerville, and Pineda M. Gutierrez, 21, of Hanahan, are charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and two counts of possession of a controlled substance near a school, police said.

Monday's arrest stemmed from efforts to address citizen complaints about criminal activity around St. James Crossing apartments on Dorchester Road, Burgess said.

Through their investigation, police learned of an alleged drug supplier who was living in the complex, Burgess said. With the help of an informant, undercover officers arranged to buy 14.6 grams of cocaine from the tenant on Nov. 21, police said.

That buy helped police secure a search warrant for the property, Burgess said. They searched the apartment on Monday and seized the marijuana, a .25-caliber pistol and a Chevrolet sport utility vehicle, he said.

Sergio R. Uc-Bojorquez, 26, is charged with trafficking marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute near a school and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, police said.

"This investigation was really requested by the community," Burgess said. "The community needed us to do something, and we responded to it."