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Drug caches found in Home Depot vanities

Massachusetts — Large quantities of drugs were found inside merchandise from at least two Home Depot stores in Massachusetts, and authorities are investigating, police said Wednesday.

A contractor late last week discovered two 50-pound “bricks” of marijuana wrapped in plastic bags inside a bathroom vanity he had purchased at a Home Depot store in Tewksbury, said Chief of Detectives Lt. Dennis Peterson.

The estimated street value of the marijuana is around $145,000, Peterson said. (Watch as do-it-yourself goes to pot — 1:30)

Similar incidents have occurred in other parts of the state.

A plumber purchased a vanity in western Massachusetts on Monday in which he later found 3 kilograms of cocaine and around 40 pounds of marijuana, with a total estimated street value of $250,000, according to the Southwick Police Department.

Southwick Police Lt. David A. Ricardi said the item was purchased at “a local hardware store” but would not confirm it came from The Home Depot.

According to Peterson, a third individual discovered large quantities of illegal drugs inside Home Depot merchandise.

Peterson would not provide the details of that incident but said it was part of the overall investigation and that Tewksbury police were working with their Southwick counterparts and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Tewksbury police and DEA officials conducted a search Tuesday of about 12 Home Depot stores statewide and found other bathroom vanities that contained drugs, Peterson said. He would not elaborate on how many drug caches were discovered in the search.

In each incident being investigated by Tewksbury Police, all of the merchandise boxes originated from a Texas location and were distributed through one Massachusetts warehouse, Peterson said.

“I’m sure the packages were being shipped to the distribution center and someone was supposed to intercept them,” Peterson said. “So that person [who was supposed to intercept the packages] either wasn’t on duty that day or the packages were marked wrong.”

The Southwick and Tewksbury Police Departments both said The Home Depot was cooperating fully with their investigations, and no one employed by the company is a suspect at this time.

Both departments also said none of the customers who purchased the vanities that contained drugs are suspects.

In a written statement, The Home Depot said, “The company is cooperating with authorities as they investigate this matter, and we will support law enforcement in any way possible to help bring those responsible to justice.”

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