New Bedford police make historic cocaine bust worth $1 million

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NEW BEDFORD — A major cocaine distribution network was dismantled by New Bedford police on May 1, resulting in the largest cocaine seizure in the department’s history, officials announced.

Detective Jonathan Miranda led the investigation that concluded with the execution of three search warrants—one each at 385 Farm St., apartment #2, 189 Deane St., apartment #1, and a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee linked to the suspect, Gilberto Collazo, 31.

The raids netted 17 kilos (over 35 pounds) of cocaine with an estimated street value of $1 million.

Chief Paul Oliveira commended the efforts of the narcotics unit, stating, “A seizure of this size, in this region of the country, is exceptionally uncommon.

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.”

Cocaine abuse remains a significant issue in Massachusetts, which ranks fourth nationwide for cocaine use rates, according to a 2024 report by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Mayor Jon Mitchell praised the skilled police work that led to the seizure, emphasizing the importance of keeping such a large quantity of drugs off the streets.

Collazo faces charges of trafficking more than 200 grams of cocaine, with a sentence ranging from 12 to 20 years if convicted.

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas A. Quinn expressed his satisfaction with the narcotics detectives’ efforts and the impact of the bust on the region.

“This is the biggest seizure of narcotics in recent memory, if not in the history of New Bedford,” Quinn stated.

He also indicated that his office would request that Collazo be detained and held without bail.

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