June 14, 2006

Drug stashes found at Massachusetts Home Depots

BOSTON (Reuters) - Police are investigating Massachusetts
outlets of Home Depot Inc. after discovering caches of cocaine
and marijuana stuffed into merchandise at three local branches
of the retail chain.

The investigation began after a shopper found 40 pounds
(18.1 kilograms) of marijuana and three kilograms (6.6 pounds)
of cocaine in a bathroom cabinet he had bought at Home Depot,
said Lt. David Ricardi of the Southwick, Massachusetts, Police

The shopper, a contractor who is not a target of the
investigation, bought the cabinet on Monday in Chicopee,
Massachusetts, about 90 miles west of Boston.

The drugs have an estimated street value of more than
$200,000, Ricardi said.

Working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration,
authorities have since found smaller drug caches at two Home
Depot locations in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, about 23 miles
north of Boston, Ricardi said.

In a statement, Atlanta-based Home Depot, which is the
world's largest home improvement retailer, said it was
"cooperating with authorities as they investigate this matter."

Tony Pettigrew, a New England spokesman for the DEA,
confirmed the agency was investigating but declined further

No arrests have been made, Ricardi said. The contractor was
not identified.