Two Mexican men have been arrested in Massachusetts near Springfield in an Aug. 29 drug bust in which FBI agents and other authorities seized 15 kilograms of cocaine, valued at over $500,000.

The FBI said in a release that 23-year-old Gerardo Madrigal Quintero of Culiacan and 30-year-old Joel Enrique Armenta Castro of Mochis in Sinaloa, Mexico were arrested on Monday.

Both men are charged with conspiracy to violate the drug laws and trafficking in 200 or more grams of cocaine.

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According to the FBI release, the men were caught in an operation by FBI Boston special agents, state police, and officers assigned to a special Boston organized crime task force.

FBI investigators had learned that two Mexican suppliers were coming to Massachusetts to deliver what the agency called a "large load of cocaine" from Mexico.

With help from state police, they tracked a tractor trailer driven by Quintero to the Ludlow Service Plaza, where they allegedly saw drugs being exchanged between Quintero and Castro.

Castro was taken into custody shortly thereafter.

State police then stopped Quintero in the tractor trailer on Route 91 south in Longmeadow and arrested him without incident, according to the release.

The operation resulted in law enforcement seizing around 15 kilograms of cocaine as well as the tractor trailer.

Both defendants are being held without bail pending dangerousness hearings.

They are next set to appear in court on Sept. 2.

"These arrests are a direct result of the hard work and dedication shared between federal, state, and local law enforcement in our efforts to identify and remove large-scale drug traffickers from our communities," head of FBI Boston Joseph Bonavolonta said.

"In preventing 15 kilos of cocaine from Mexico from hitting Massachusetts streets, there’s no question our neighborhoods and citizens are much safer."

Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason commented, "The cocaine that troopers, agents, and task force officers prevented from reaching the streets of Massachusetts through this investigation was worth more than half a million dollars to its suppliers in Mexico."

"Had it reached its destination it would have been cut up, packaged, and sold throughout our communities, and it would have caused violence, ruined families, and ended lives," he added.

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said, "This very substantial seizure comes with a tremendous amount of work, and I thank the agencies involved for their vigilance, resources, and expertise in combating these very dangerous individuals and the organizations they serve."

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