NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Police narcotics unit took more than 70 grams of cocaine valued at about $7,000 off the street Tuesday, and arrested a New Bedford man, following an investigation into a cocaine distribution service being operated out of 490 Union Street, Apartment 1, and 9 McMurray Court, Apt. 1.

Benjamin Duarte, 48, of 490 Union St. Apt. 1, New Bedford, was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.

Duarte, who was the subject of the investigation, was stopped by police in his vehicle as he left the McMurray Court address and headed south on County Street. When police attempted to stop him at Elm Street and County Street, Duarte tried to flee, striking police vehicles in the process.

When police executed the search warrant at his address, they discovered 25 bags of cocaine weighing 71 grams, digital scales, packaging material and $17,230 in cash.

A search of the McMurray Court location uncovered a small amount of cocaine, digital scales, packaging materials and $341 on Duarte.

A search of his vehicle yielded a small amount of cocaine, digital scales and packaging materials.

Duarte is no stranger to police. He has a criminal history dating back more than 30 years, with 48 adult arraignments. He has previous convictions for possession of a firearm and assault to kill, and has two open cases in Superior Court for trafficking cocaine.

Duarte was arraigned Wednesday in District Court and is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing and bail revocation hearing on April 11.

--New Bedford Police

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