For Immediate Release - December 22, 2011

Three Men Charged in Major Cocaine Bust Are Held Without Bail

Three defendants from Canada, New Mexico and Arizona, charged with trafficking 11 kilos of cocaine with a street value of $1.1 million, were ordered held without bail by Judge Richard Mori today in Peabody District Court.  They return to court on December 29 for a dangerousness hearing.

Jason Grilli, 38, of Laval, PQ, Valentine Torres, 33, of Juarez, NM, and Gerardo Rodriguez Florez, 27, of Tuscon AZ, pleaded not guilty to trafficking cocaine over 200 grams, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

The men were arrested yesterday at the Holiday Inn in Peabody as the result of an investigation lead by the Peabody Police, with assistance from the DEA and the Drug Task Force assigned to the Office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

Yesterday police had set up surveillance at the hotel and were able to identify the suspects.  At about 12:15 p.m. the sale of cocaine took place in the hotel, and the men were arrested quickly thereafter.

Grilli was arrested in the parking lot of the hotel carrying a duffel bag full of cocaine, and the other two suspects were arrested inside the hotel.  All were taken into custody without incident.

If convicted the men face a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years.

All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.