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Seized drugs linked by police to cartel

Substances valued at $1m

State troopers and US Drug Enforcement Administration investigators have seized an estimated $1 million of heroin and crystal methamphetamine from three men who were arrested near Saugus last week and who are allegedly connected with a Mexican drug-trafficking ring, State Police said Saturday in a prepared statement.

Juan Nunez, 37, of New York City; Jose Morales, 43, of Haverstraw, N.Y.; and Alfredo Lopez, 33, of Van Nuys, Calif., face charges on trafficking in narcotics and conspiracy to violate the federal Controlled Substances Act after police said they found 5 kilograms of heroin and 2 kilograms of crystal meth in their possession, the statement said.

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Law enforcement officials said the men were working with a drug ring that is based in Mexico and targets communities in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

According to the statement, troopers assigned to the State Police’s transportation drug force and DEA agents assigned to a southern New Hampshire high-intensity drug-trafficking task force saw two of the men drive out the parking lot of a Peabody hotel in Route 1 Thursday “with a large duffel bag” inside the vehicle. Shortly after that, State Police said, officials stopped and searched the car on Route 1 in Saugus, recovering 4 kilograms of heroin from a duffel bag.

The third suspect was stopped while driving another car and arrested.

“Troopers and agents then executed a search warrant on the men’s hotel room and found an additional kilogram of heroin and 2 kilograms of [crystal] methamphetamine,” said the statement, which said additional vehicles registered to the suspects, including a van registered in New York state and a car registered in California, were also seized.

The men were scheduled to be arraigned in Lynn District Court on Friday, but Trooper Reid Bagley, a State Police spokesman, said in a telephone interview Saturday that he could not confirm whether the arraignment had taken place.

Alyssa Creamer can be reached at alyssa.creamer@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lisacreamer.
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