Multi-national drug cartel investigation leads to Myrtle Beach arrest

    Francisco Garcia Martinez. (Credit: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

    A multi-state drug investigation uncovered a large operation that spanned from Vera Cruz, Mexico, to the Carolinas.

    Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez, Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez, Francisco Garcia-Martinez, Rodolfo Martinez, Raul Rangel-Gutierrez and Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez were arrested by federal officials in an investigation that began in the Western District of North Carolina.

    The men are accused of conspiracy to distribute or intent to distribute 500 grams of a mixture that contained methamphetamine and at least 5 kilograms of cocaine.

    A confidential informant (CI) began working with investigators in March of 2018. The CI gave detailed accounts of smuggling activities and gave the name of the group the men operated with, the Jalisco New Generation/Gulf Cartel.

    According to the CI, they worked with the Cartel for eight years, transporting large amounts of money that they believe was made from selling the drugs.

    Information given to the CI from residents in Vera Cruz, Mexico, said that Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez was a high level United States Cartel member.

    Through the course of the investigation, the investigative team, working in tandem with the CI, made a series of "controlled" drug purchases from homes throughout the Charlotte area.

    During the end of Aug. 2018 and Sep. 2018, an investigative team was able to purchase 1,934 grams of pure methamphetamine from Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez, authorities say. This discovery allowed investigators to wire-tap the phones of Cartel members, and over the next few months, investigators surveyed Rangel-Gutierrez' home and business activity.

    On Jan. 22, a black 2015 Camry with South Carolina tags belonging to Francisco Garcia-Martinez was used to move $80,000 from Myrtle Beach to Houston, TX, according to a criminal complaint, which states that on one occasion, two of the suspects were observed driving from their worksite in Myrtle Beach to Charlotte, with drug proceeds, investigators believe.

    Garcia-Martinez was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center Monday morning by U.S. Marshals. the case was transferred to a court in the Western District of North Carolina,, and Garcia-Martinez was extradited, departing J. Reuben Friday morning at 7:15.

    The investigation is ongoing.

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