NORTH READING — Police Chief Michael P. Murphy reports that the North Reading Police Department arrested two men late last week after a multi–month investigation by North Reading Police Department and regional drug task force detectives, investigating reports of cocaine dealing in town.

As a result of diligent work by detectives, Ben J. Boyd, age 42 of Methuen and Charles Payne, age 51 of Middleton, were arrested on Friday, Jan. 16.

North Reading Police initiated an investigation into possible drug distribution at a local restaurant in November. A careful and purposeful investigation followed, which included assistance from other law enforcement agencies in the region.

The two suspects were arrested on Friday evening at a local restaurant.

Boyd was charged with:

• Distribution of a Class B Substance (Two Counts)

• Conspiracy to Violate Drug Law (Two Counts)

• Trafficking in Cocaine (26.6 grams)

Payne was charged with:

• Conspiracy to Violate Drug Law (Two Counts)

• Disibution of a Class B Substance

• Operating a Motor Vehicle after License Revocation

Both were arraigned Monday in Woburn District Court.

Chief Murphy praised the hard work of North Reading Police Detectives and regional partner agencies.

“Illegal drug distribution and abuse are problems in every community in the nation and we will continue to meet it head-on,” Chief Murphy said. “I am very proud of the hard work and dedication by our North Reading Police Detectives and I am grateful for the partnerships we have forged in municipal law enforcement that have, today, removed two alleged drug dealers from our community.”

These charges are allegations only. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.