, Salem, MA

November 25, 2013

Police: Arrested NY man had drug 'hide' in car

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — Police arrested a Brooklyn, N.Y., man on heroin and cocaine drug charges Saturday afternoon during a traffic stop during which, they say, a sophisticated electronic drug hide was found within the car radio.

Juan Leonardo Pena, 34, was arrested at 1:10 p.m. near the Northshore Mall on charges of trafficking heroin and cocaine, giving false identification to a police officer and a forged New York driver’s license. Police seized approximately $13,000 in cash and cocaine and heroin with a street value of $15,000 from the 2005 Lexus, according to a prepared statement issued by Peabody police.

The cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin were found all individually packed for sale, police said.

During police attempts to identify the driver, Pena produced a New York driver’s license issued in an alternative name. The false identity was discovered when police fingerprinted Pena during booking, according to the statement.

Police said previous attempts were made to permanently alter his fingerprints.

“The narcotics seizure and arrest was a result of suspicious activity observed in the downtown area,” the release read. “Peabody Detectives David B. Murphy, Joseph Gilroy and Eric Ricci continued an investigation while surveilling a motor vehicle to the Northshore shopping mall.”

The vehicle was searched with the assistance of a K-9 unit from Everett, and the clandestine drug hide was found in the dashboard radio, police said.

An arraignment is scheduled in Peabody District Court this morning.

The news comes after federal agents arrested two people in Peabody Saturday, Nov. 16, who they say have been surgically altering people’s fingerprints so they can elude detection by law enforcement.

Danilo Montero Ramirez, 61, and Teresa Araujo Martinez, 40, were arrested by federal agents Saturday in an apartment at 156 Shore Drive, where they had arranged to meet a patient.

Police did not make any connection between the two cases.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.