PEABODY — An alleged drug trafficker who jumped bail in a cocaine trafficking case seven years ago is now being held on $250,000 bail, after police say they found a cache of drugs and money hidden inside his SUV Friday evening.
Edgardo Rivera-Alvarado, 41, of Lowell, had apparently been living under an assumed identity — Jose Lopez. That was the name on the driver’s license, Social Security card and state of Pennsylvania identification card he handed officers following a traffic stop Friday on Margin Street.
Peabody police detectives David Murphy and Eric Ricci were conducting surveillance on a home when they saw the man they later identified as Rivera-Alvarado pull into a driveway, spend about two minutes inside the home, then pull back out.
The officers, who were in plainclothes and an unmarked car, then saw him pull his Lincoln MKX over on Oakland Street. They watched as the SUV’s brake lights flashed on and off repeatedly for about four or five minutes, as Rivera-Alvarado moved around inside.
As the Lincoln pulled away, the detectives attempted to pull it over on Margin Street. They watched the driver begin stuffing items into his mouth and taking large gulps of water.
After forcing the car over to the side of the road, the detectives say Rivera-Alvarado kept trying to swallow items and swigging from the water bottle.
During the traffic stop, detectives noticed wires, unusual wear on the console and plastic shavings on the SUV’s floor. That, along with the flashing brake lights, led them to conclude there was a hidden compartment in the SUV.
Danvers Police Patrolman Justin Ellenton and his police dog Stryka arrived, and the dog appeared to indicate that there could be drugs near the front seat.
An Everett police sergeant with experience in finding hidden compartments arrived and helped open what turned out to be a metal box under the dashboard, according to a police report.
Inside, police found 20 small bags of heroin, totaling just under half an ounce (12.8 grams) worth approximately $1,300; 13 small bags of cocaine totaling 5.7 grams, worth approximately $500; and $3,479 in cash, according to a police report.
Police subsequently learned through a fingerprint database that the man they had arrested was Rivera-Alvarado and not Lopez.
Rivera-Alvarado is charged with possession of both heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute, failing to stop for police, giving a false name, forging a motor vehicle document, refusing to identify himself and driving after license revocation.
Court records show that Rivera-Alvarado was indicted in a Newburyport cocaine trafficking case in 2008, and was free on $25,000 bail when he failed to appear for a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence in the case in 2009.
That $25,000 was forfeited to the government, court records show. On Monday, in addition to setting bail at $250,000 in the new case, Peabody District Court Judge James Barretto revoked the bail in the Superior Court case.
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Nov. 15.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.