NEW BEDFORD — Organized crime detectives in New Bedford have seized a record $1.3 million from two men suspected of trafficking drugs.

Police said Tuesday that the cash seized represents the largest seizure of allegedly illicit drug money in the department's history.

According to police, a months-long investigation into a drug operation in the city resulted in an Oct. 21 search that turned up nearly a kilogram of fentanyl, 28 grams of cocaine, and $1,295,274 in cash.

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Police said 30-year-old Amado Delgado Mendez and 38-year-old Vinicio Marrero Arias, both of 197 Cottage St., are suspected of running the drug dealing operation.

During the investigation, search warrants were executed at the pair's Cottage Street home and a New Plainville Road address as well as several storage containers and vehicles, resulting in the seizure of 830 grams of fentanyl along with a hydraulic press and other drug materials.

Arias was arrested and is charged with trafficking in more than 200 grams of fentanyl and more than 18 grams of cocaine.

Delgado Mendez remains at large with an active warrant for his arrest, according to police.

Delgado Mendez is wanted by New Bedford Police
Courtesy New Bedford Police

Organized Crime unit commander Lt. Justin Kagan said the lead investigator, Det. Lavar Gilbert, "has a tireless commitment to his work in the narcotics unit," adding, "We are proud of his work and the positive effect this case will have on the community."

New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira commented, "A seizure of this magnitude can only be achieved through meticulous investigative skills and commitment, which Detective Gilbert continually demonstrates."

"New Bedford police officers are relentless in their pursuit of individuals who poison the community for profit," Oliveira added.

"Today, we celebrate the fruits of this labor. Tonight, they will be back out on the streets, looking for the next target. I’m immensely proud of the work being performed by them.”

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