First Posted: 1/15/2009
RED SPRINGS - Two Mexican men who say they entered the country illegally by crossing a river have been arrested and charged with multiple drug crimes.
One of the men tried to flush cocaine down a toilet before officers were able to stop him, said Sgt. J. W. Jacobs of the county Sheriff Office's Drug Enforcement Division.
Jacobs said that 400 grams of cocaine, $40,000 in cash and a 9 mm rifle were seized during a search of the doublewide trailer where the men lived.
Arturo Hernandez Benitez, 21, and his cousin, Ulises Santana Salazar, 18, both of 10546 N.C. 211, were placed in the Robeson County jail, each under a bond of $71,000. They were scheduled to appear in court this morning.
Jacobs said that both men said they worked at the Tierra Caliente Nightclub on Kahn Drive in Lumberton.
Both were charged with the following felonies: trafficking cocaine by possession, trafficking cocaine by manufacture, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine and maintaining a drug dwelling. Each was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.
Jacobs said that officers entered the home about 8:30 p.m. with the permission of Benitez. He said that five people were in the home but that one man and two women were not charged with any crimes. He said that the third man, who lived at the house, was asleep when officers arrived and no drugs were in his bedroom. The women did not live there.
Jacobs said that Benitez and Salazar admitted to being in the country illegally, saying they had entered Texas from Mexico by crossing a river.
Jacobs estimated the street value of the cocaine at approximately $25,000.