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Drug cache in car 2 arrested


Two New York men are being held without bail after state police reported stopping their car on Interstate 95 near Aberdeen and finding $300,000 worth of drugs.

Tfc. Paul Quill said yesterday that the men told conflicting stories about their travels when he stopped them for speeding Wednesday, so he asked for their written consent to search the car.

Trooper Quill said he noticed that the 1991 Mercury Cougar had only one stereo speaker, and he probed its grill.

"I could see something was inside, and it appeared to be drugs," the trooper said.

Ernest Maurice Ballestero, 22, and Robert Lawrence Berry, 26, were arrested and the car was seized. Police found the drugs when they opened the "speaker," which in fact was an electronically sealed compartment that contained 6 pounds of crack cocaine, 125 grams of cocaine powder and 90 grams of marijuana, Trooper Quill said.

Police said they believe the drugs were being taken to Wilmington, N.C. Each suspect was charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute and smuggling cocaine and marijuana. Mr. Ballestero also was given a warning ticket for driving 65 mph in a 55 mph zone, the trooper said.

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