Four alleged "smurfers" were arrested early Sunday morning after deputies found traces of meth during a traffic stop.
Kelvin Cooper III, 30, of 101 Lanham St., Greenwood; Donald Cortright II, 34, of Donalds; Carl May, 42, of Waterloo; and Jessica Tobias, 24, of Hanahan, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine in connection with the incident. Cooper was also booked on a count of possession of a controlled substance stemming from the arrests.
A Greenwood County patrolman spotted the suspects piled inside a Buick just after midnight Sunday morning in the parking lot of Walgreens, 1014 Montague Ave.
According to a Greenwood County incident report:
The deputy encountered the same vehicle several days prior when he seized drug paraphernalia from it, and he had prior knowledge the owner was buying boxes of pseudoephedrine at local drug stores.
"Smurfing" is a technique meth cooks and addicts use to circumvent purchasing limits on Sudafed and other decongestants by loading up in a car and traveling to several stores to buy boxes of precursor chemicals needed to cook the drug. Those who practice the technique are called "smurfers."
Deputies described the technique in the report and cited it as a reason for them investigating the vehicle. Officers followed the vehicle westbound on Bypass 72, and made a traffic stop in the parking lot of Walmart. When officers initiated the stop, they noticed the Greenwood suspect stuffing something in the seat behind him.
Officers searched the vehicle and found a box of Walgreens sinus and cold tablets containing pseudoephedrine, and 12 clonazepam pills stuffed in a seat. Officers also found a substance on the floorboard that tested positive for meth.