It looked like just a typical semi-trailer on Railroad Avenue, but after law enforcement authorities were finished Monday evening, they had found in that tractor trailer the largest amount of cocaine seized in the history of the Commonwealth – some 89 kilograms or nearly 200 pounds.
“This was a monumental seizure of cocaine,” said Suffolk County DA Dan Conley in a press conference Tuesday at the Revere Police Station. “It’s the largest seizure of cocaine I’ve ever seen and one of the largest in the history of the Commonwealth. The officers that took this in disrupted drug sales not just in Boston, but across Massachusetts and New England. It will have a tremendous impact on cocaine sales in the New England region.”
Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of the Boston office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said, “This is the most significant seizure we have ever had in New England, period.”
Investigators had the drugs lined up at Tuesday’s press conference, and from a comfortable distance they looked more like old books than they did illicit drugs.
However, were the tattered wax coatings to be removed, it would have unveiled pure white cocaine worth more than $35,000 per brick.
And there were 89 of those bricks.
It was astonishing to the eyes, and investigators were left without words at times when trying to describe the overall quantity and significance.
Reportedly, the drugs bore the logo of one of the infamous and ruthlessly violent Mexican Drug Cartels, but officials would not confirm that and they hid those logos when media members began asking about them.
Officials said they couldn’t comment on the logos as they were part of the ongoing investigation.
DA Conley said that the investigation began rather quickly, assembling around 5 p.m. on Monday after acting on a tip that was undisclosed.
Surveillance teams watched the tractor trailer parked at 32 Railroad Ave. for several hours.
Around 8 p.m., two men approached the trailer and opened a hidden compartment. They began unloading kilo after kilo as police watched. The two men took the packages, placed them in a suitcase and put them in a vehicle they were driving.
As they finished up, police moved in – including members of the Revere Drug Unit under Lt. David Callahan and Chief Terence Reardon.
Rafael Jesus Montero, 22, of Everett, was taken into custody. Conley said Montero was a citizen of the Dominican Republic and was possibly here illegally, though that hasn’t been confirmed yet.
Also taken into custody was Gilberto Cruz Padilla, 24, of San Ysidra, CA. Conley said Padilla was a U.S. Citizen who had last lived in Tijuana, Mexico.
Both men are charged with the largest crime that Massachusetts can levy, which is Trafficking in 200 grams or more of cocaine.
Incidentally, Conley said that was only about 1/400th of the amount that was seized.
“Two hundred grams is a sizable quantity, but it’s just a fraction of this cocaine’s weight,” said Conley. “To put it into context, 200 grams would represent only 1/400th of the weight of the 89 kilos that are here…Quite honestly, we don’t see a lot of seizures over 200 grams. It happens, no doubt, but this is just vast.”
Both suspects were arraigned in Chelsea District Court on Tuesday and held on a $5 million cash bail. They will return to court in January.
Conley said he could not elaborate too much on the particulars of the case as it was very much ongoing and would probably result in more action.
He said it represented probably $10 million in profits to drug organizations.
“We’ll never know how many homicides and violent crimes have been averted,” he said.
When asked whether shipments such as this might be common, Conley simply said that he hoped not.
“I won’t speculate on that, but I would only pray to God there is not this much cocaine coming in at other times that we don’t get. I’m just glad we got this,” he concluded.