News Release
April 23, 2008

Upstate Drug Dealers Plead Guilty

APR 23 -- (Columbia, SC) - Acting United States Attorney Kevin F. McDonald stated that Christopher Carl Hawk, age 57, of Elberton, Georgia, Benjamin Islas Hernandez, age 35, Jorge Mendoza-Rivera, age 32, and Jorge Monge, age 26, all of Mexico, pled guilty in federal court in Greenville to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. United States District Judge Henry M. Herlong, Jr., accepted the pleas and will sentence the men at a later date.

Early last year, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted an investigation into the distribution of cocaine and Mexican-imported methamphetamine in Greenville and Anderson counties. Benjamin Hernandez was determined to be the supplier, providing the drugs to the other members of the organization for multi-kilogram distribution throughout the upstate.

Mr. McDonald stated the maximum penalty the defendants can receive is a fine of $4,000,000 and imprisonment for life.

The case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the Anderson Police Department and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Regan A. Pendleton of the Greenville office handled the case.