NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — An investigation by New Bedford Police into a cocaine distribution operation led to the largest cocaine seizure in the department's history.

The investigation, headed by Detective Jonathan Miranda, led to the May 1 seizure and arrest.

On that date, three search warrants were executed in New Bedford: one for 385 Farm Street, Apartment No. 2; one for 189 Deane Street, Apartment No. 1; and another for a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee connected to Gilbert Collazo, 31.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

According to New Bedford Police, officers located 17 kilos (over 35 pounds), which boasts a street value of approximately $1 million.

“A seizure of this size, in this region of the country, is exceptionally uncommon,” Police Chief Paul Oliveira said. “It takes a dedicated detective working within a tenacious team to get this type of result. I’m always very proud of our narcotics unit, but I’m particularly delighted with them today.”

Collazo was charged with trafficking in excess of two hundred grams of cocaine, which carries a potential penalty of 12 to 20 years in prison.

Mayor Jon Mitchell praised the work of the investigators.

“This is a major seizure by any standard, and it is the result of skillful police work,” Mayor Mitchell said. “I am grateful for the diligence of the department’s detectives in preventing this stash from ever reaching the streets, here, or elsewhere.”

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said his office will be requesting that Collazo be held without bail.

"This is the biggest seizure of narcotics in recent memory, if not in the history of New Bedford," D.A. Quinn said. "This case highlights the large amount of narcotics that continues to be trafficked in our communities on a daily basis. My office will be asking the court to detain this defendant and hold him without bail."

Biggest Drug Busts on the SouthCoast

Here are some of the biggest drug busts ever seen in the SouthCoast area.

Gallery Credit: Kate Robinson

Crime Rate Statistics in SouthCoast Towns

Here are the crime rate statistics for SouthCoast communities, utilizing data from 2022, the most recent year available. Annual data is from the Massachusetts Crime Statistics. The number of crimes is a data collection of total arrests, DUI/OUI charges, violent crimes, and hate crimes. The clearance rate is the number of charged crimes divided by the total number of crimes recorded. We listed the SouthCoast towns alphabetically.

Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420