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FITCHBURG -- Police charged a local man with trafficking crack and cocaine out of his 2000 Saab on Wednesday night, according to police.
Fitchburg Police Capt. Phil Kearns called the arrest "significant."
Kearns said Cesar Puentes-Leonardo, 23, had been under surveillance by the State Police Gang Unit when Fitchburg Police pulled his Saab over near the intersection of Cedar and Pearl streets around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
"I'm absolutely proud of the department," Kearns said. "It's great that we're able to make these sorts of arrests, but it's also unfortunate that we keep having to make them consistently."
Police used a dog to help them discover a hide in the car's center console, containing 20 baggies of crack cocaine and 18 baggies of powdered cocaine, according to a police report.
The baggies totaled 137 grams of illegal, Class B narcotics, the report said.
Kearns said "the hide" shows Puentes-Leonardo is a "serious dealer."
"A hide is a hidden console in the car that often times requires you to do certain things to expose it," Kearns explained. "You might have to turn the heater on, or the wipers, to get it to open. That he had a hide tells me he went out of his way to put that in or to get a car that had one. That's significant -- I wouldn't characterize him as just a street-corner dealer." Police charged Puentes-Leonardo with possession of a Class B drug and possession with intent to distribute in addition to the trafficking charges.

District Court Judge Andrew Mandell ordered Puentes-Leonardo held on $5,000 cash bail at his arraignment Thursday.
He's scheduled to appear Oct. 9 at Fitchburg District Court for a pretrial hearing.
A State Police spokesman said Thursday he could not comment on the incident because the State Police Gang Unit did not make the arrest.
Kearns, however, said Fitchburg Police had worked on the case cooperatively with the gang unit prior to the arrest.
"They had received information and were alerted to the fact that (Puentes-Leonardo) might be dealing drugs out of his car, and the car was put under surveillance," Kearns said.
The gang unit "had received Confidential Reliable Informant information ... that the vehicle was dealing narcotics," according to the police report.
State troopers were present at the scene of the arrest, the report said.
Police, it continued, observed a street-level transaction take place in the vehicle several days before the arrest.
Police "knew Mr. Puentes-Leonardo from an investigation previous to this date in which a controlled buy was made from him," the report said. Kearns said Puentes-Leonardo, a construction worker, is not known to the department as a prior offender.

http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/police/ci_10507293
 
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