Pubdate: Mon, 17 Feb 2003
Source: Times and Democrat, The (SC)
Copyright: 2003, The Times and Democrat
Author: Stephanie Pietrowski


ST. GEORGE -- The multi-agency Interstate Criminal Enforcement (ICE) team 
had a busy month along Interstate 95, confiscating more than a half million 
dollars, drugs and drug paraphernalia.

The team is comprised of officers from the Drug Enforcement Agency, 
Dorchester County Sheriff's Department, Summerville Police Department and 
Charleston County Sheriff's Department. All money confiscated is split 
between the four agencies.

Deputies from the ICE team on Jan. 29 stopped a Ford F-250 pickup at the 76 
mile marker for driving left of the center line. Several indicators alerted 
deputies to criminal activity, and a consensual search with a K9 led to the 
discovery of two false compartments under the vehicle.

A half million dollars in cash along with a small amount of cocaine were 
seized. Arrested were Luz Renteria, a 39-year-old female from Flushing, 
N.Y. and Alexander Bastardo of Queens, N.Y. The cash amount was reduced to 
$499,980 when two counterfeit $10 bills were discovered in the cash.

When a Mitsubishi Gallant was stopped on Jan. 30 for following too closely, 
the driver was nervous, shaking uncontrollably and kept changing his story 
on where he was traveling from and where he was going. A drug detection K9 
immediately alerted on the vehicle, and deputies seized several drug 
paraphernalia items and a black tote bag containing $33,380. The man was 
not arrested, but the money was seized for a civil action, and the man will 
have to prove that he acquired the money legally.

On Jan. 31, the ICE team stopped a Chevy truck at mile marker 78 outside 
St. George for speeding. After questioning the driver and passenger, 
deputies conducted a consensual search and discovered a small amount of 
marijuana and methamphetamine. Arrested were Billy Saunders, 39 and Richard 
Trymbulak, 32, both of Southport, Fla.

Two people were arrested on Feb. 3 when a Dodge Caravan was pulled over at 
mile marker 77 for following too close to another vehicle. Officers could 
smell a heavy odor of marijuana in the van and found $14,970 in several 
different bundles wrapped in rubber bands, along with a small amount of 
marijuana. Arrested were Kenneth Brown, 25 from Norfolk, Va. and Jovon 
McClarty, 23, of Decatur, Ga.

More than a pound of heroin was discovered in a Mitsubishi stopped for an 
improper lane change on Feb. 6 at mile marker 84. Three people in the car 
had three different stories on where they were going, and a consensual 
search turned up 1.1 pounds of heroin in a duct-taped package. Street value 
of the drug was estimated at $100,000.

Arrested for trafficking in heroin were Alejandro Batista, 21 and Thomas 
Gonzalez, 23, both of Kissimmee, Fla. Batista was denied bond, and Gonzalez 
was released on $10,000 bond. The third person in the car was not charged.

Maj. Tim Stephenson of the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office said he was 
very pleased with the deputies on the ICE team, and congratulated them on a 
good month's work.

"They are all hardworking, dedicated men in a dangerous line of work, and 
we can see that work paying off every month," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens