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Task Force Intercepts Cocaine Shipped From Dominican In Produce Boxes

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BOSTON (CBS) – Authorities arrested two men in Lawrence Sunday after intercepting 11 kilos of cocaine shipped from the Dominican Republic hidden in boxes of produce.

Acting on tips that a large quantity of cocaine was en route from the Dominican Republic through Florida, a task force of state, federal and local police conducted surveillance over the weekend at a produce warehouse at 1 Broadway St. in Lawrence, state police said.

According to police, surveillance teams pulled over an SUV Sunday morning after watching two men load it with items from the warehouse and drive off. A search of the SUV reportedly uncovered numerous packets of what was believed to be cocaine hidden in two produce boxes.

Police said a search of 600 boxes at the produce warehouse discovered additional packets of cocaine.

The owner of the produce business, Miguel Betances, 60, and the man who was with him in the SUV, Francisco Gonzalez, 50, were arrested and charged with trafficking a Class B substance in excess of 200 grams and conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substance Act.

State police estimated the value of the intercepted cocaine at $500,000.

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