11/15/2006

Mass. police seize $700k in cocaine

By Jonathan Graham
Sentinel & Enterprise

LEOMINSTER- Local, state and federal police forces seized more than $700,000 in "highly pure, uncut cocaine" Saturday night, according to Gardner Police Lt. Gerald J. Poirier, commander of the North Worcester County Drug Task Force.

The seizure of seven kilograms in cocaine came out of an undercover operation near Leominster's North Main Street, Poirier said Sunday.

"The cocaine most likely passed from a producer to the streets without any handling," Poirier said, explaining why the cocaine was of such high quality.

Police also arrested four men in connection with the operation, Poirier said.

Police arrested two Fitchburg men, Luis Hernandes, of 9 Marker St., and Jose Larios, 33, of 152 Canton St.; and two Worcester men, Miguel Mayoral, 22, and Wilmer Martinez, 28, during the operation, Poirier said.

Poirier said police found a "cocked, fully loaded, unsecured, high-capacity, automatic, military assault rifle," in Larios' Marker Street home.

Police also found a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun on Hernandes when they arrested him, Poirier said.

Poirier said the four arrested men will be charged federally with conspiracy to violate drug laws and trafficking in cocaine.

"We're handing it off to the Feds," Poirier said.

Hernandes and Larios will face additional firearm charges, Poirier said.

Poirier declined to release many details from the arrest Sunday.

He would not give the exact location on North Main Street where the bust occurred, or the circumstances surrounding Saturday night's operation.

"I can't give out too much information, because the investigation is still ongoing," he said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's Mobile Enforcement Team, the Worcester High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group, the North Worcester County Drug Task Force, the State Police's Gang Unit and the Marlboro Police Department helped in Saturday's operation, according to Poirier.

The four men will be arraigned in Federal Court in Worcester today.

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