By Douglas Moser
---- — METHUEN — Police seized nearly 50 grams of drugs hidden in a Mountain Dew can after a resident’s report of a possible drug deal led to the arrest of a Lawrence man yesterday morning on trafficking charges.
Wesley Valentin, 32, 47 Chelmsford St., Lawrence, was arrested yesterday at 11:30 a.m. on Berkeley Street and charged with trafficking in heroin, trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, violating the drug-free park law, conspiracy to violate the controlled substance law, a stop sign violation and a marked lanes violation.
Police said Valentin is being held on $10,000 bail.
Sgt. Jim Gunter said a resident from the neighborhood called police to report a suspicious vehicle and what the resident thought was a drug deal.
“We had been getting calls from that area about suspicious people and possible drug activity,” Chief Joseph Solomon said.
Gunter said that area sees a higher-level of drug activity because of its proximity to Lawrence. A Methuen detective was on the scene in about a minute, Gunter said, and saw what looked like a car-to-car drug transaction.
Detectives pulled over both vehicles after the deal was done. During a search of Valentin’s vehicle, police said they discovered a stash of drugs, contained in multiple corners of plastic sandwich bags, inside a Mountain Dew can with a screw-on top.
“We’ve had training in the past with different methods of hiding narcotics. False soda cans, false shaving cream cans have been used in the past,” he said.
Three Methuen police officers and an Essex County deputy sheriff found 27.5 grams of heroin, 19.5 grams of cocaine and 2.4 grams of crack cocaine in the can. Gunter estimated the drugs’ street value at about $4,000.
No drugs were found on the driver of the other vehicle spotted in the transaction, Gunter said. Police believe he was there to buy cocaine, but swallowed his purchase when he saw the police. The alleged buyer was not arrested.
Gunter said the resident’s call was critical to making the arrest. “I think the significant thing really is if residents see suspicious activity, call,” he said. “They live in neighborhood and know who is supposed to be there.”
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