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Monday, 17 October 2016 20:08

More than $1M in cocaine seized at Lancaster body shop

Written by Greg Suskin, WSOC TV

Alex Vicente Soto Godinez

Alex Vicente Soto-Godinez


LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. - Alex's Auto Care on Highway 160 has been in business for about four years.

Residents told Channel 9 they often saw the owner, Alex Vicente Soto-Godinez, 36, working until late at night repairing cars.


Lancaster County sheriff's deputies believe that's not all he was doing.


Soto-Godinez was charged with drug trafficking after deputies said they found more cocaine than the county has ever seen.


"This is pretty incredible to me," Sheriff Barry Faile said. "This kind of arrest shows that we're doing what we're supposed to."


The small garage is near the York and Lancaster county line, and several connected buildings house other automotive businesses.


John and Chris Linke were customers of Alex's Auto Care.


They came by Thursday to see if they can get their car back. The car was having a ding repaired at Soto-Godinez's garage.


It's still locked up in the service bay.


“I met him and he seemed like a decent guy," John Linke said. "He seemed like a soccer coach kind of guy."


"He was really like the guy next door," Chris Linke said.


The case began as a tip to York County's multijurisdictional drug enforcement unit.


The tip was passed to Lancaster sheriff's deputies, who set up surveillance on the business Wednesday morning.


They said they found some cocaine, marijuana and thousands of dollars in cash inside the shop.


Later, authorities searched Soto-Godinez’s Honda minivan and said they found 30 pounds of cocaine hidden in the van, worth more than $1 million on the street.


“This guy, being from North Carolina, used this location as a stash house, or a drop off point," Faile said.


Channel 9 asked about other arrests and who the suppliers are.


Faile said that is still part of the investigation.


He's not sure at this point if Soto-Godinez is in the country legally, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is now part of the case.


Bond for Soto-Godinez was denied Thursday afternoon. Residents said he ran the body shop mostly by himself.


Investigators don't expect to make any other arrests.


We would like to thank WSOC TV for reprint permission.


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