By Mark E. Vogler
---- — ANDOVER — State police seized 105 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated street value of $4.5 million after stopping an Andover man’s Dodge Durango SUV on Interstate 495 North between Routes 133 and 93 at about 1 p.m. yesterday.
Detectives of the Essex County Drug Task Force were calling the highway drug bust one of the largest seizures in recent history, according to spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan of District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office.
Police charged Jose Martinez, 51, of 123 Chestnut Street, Andover, with trafficking cocaine. He was being held in an undisclosed lockup, pending an arraignment set for Monday in Lawrence District Court.
“This investigation and arrest has taken a large quantity of drugs off the street,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “I commend the hard work and diligence of the detectives involved.”
The arrest was the result of a three-month long investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Troopers assigned to the Essex County D.A.’s Drug Task Force targeting Martinez. The district attorney would not release any further details of the probe, saying it might hamper the ongoing investigation.
Yesterday’s cocaine bust wasn’t the largest by the drug task force. The drug task force, assisted by federal agents, seized 185 pounds of cocaine as it was being unloaded from a tractor trailer in Lynn five years ago. The street value was estimated at $8.4 million in that bust.