EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 4, 2014

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers


While civil rights protests were not part of Haverhill’s own history, we’re pleased that the city can make a contribution to the commemoration of this important chapter of American history.

JEERS to another example of the extent of the illegal drug trade.

Two New York men -- Francisco Gonzalez, 50, of Manhattan and Miguel Betances, 60, of Nanuet, N.Y. -- were arrested in Lawrence last weekend and charged with trafficking more than 200 grams of cocaine. According to a police report, detectives monitoring a Lawrence warehouse intercepted a produce shipment from the Dominican Republic via Florida that was also concealing 10 kilos of cocaine with a street value of $400,000.

Working with federal drug agents, Lawrence detectives learned the drug shipment would be arriving from Florida concealed within boxes of produce from the Dominican Republic, The Eagle-Tribune’s Jill Harmacinski reported. Saturday morning, state, local and federal drug detectives were watching the Mayias Wholesale Warehouse at 1 Broadway when they observed Betances and other unidentified men unloading pallets of produce from a trailer and bringing them into the warehouse. Later, Betances and Gonzalez returned in an SUV and loaded boxes into it. Police stopped the SUV and found packages of cocaine inside, according to the report.

Executing a search warrant on the warehouse, police found more cocaine “resealed inside the walls of a number of brown cardboard boxes,” according to the report.

Bail was set at $500,000 for both Betances and Gonzalez after their arraignments in Lawrence District Court. Both men are due back in court on July 1 for a probable cause hearing.

The story illustrates the extent and scope of the illegal drug trade as it reaches up and down the East Coast and into the Caribbean. Our thanks to the police and detectives involved in the effort to get this scourge off our streets.

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