VAN BUREN (AP) – Drug agents arrested a Van Buren man and seized more than 98,000 tablets of Ecstasy in what is being called the largest seizure of the drug in the state, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said Tuesday.

The case unfolded last week after drug agents in Aroostook County received a tip about suspicious activity along Route 1 in Hamlin with duffel bags being loaded into a car not far from the Canadian border, said MDEA Director Roy McKinney.

Agents with the MDEA and Immigration and Customs Enforcement located the vehicle at a residence and kept it under surveillance through the night, McKinney said.

The next morning, law enforcement authorities stopped the car after it left the house and went to a public storage facility in Van Buren after talking with the driver.

There, they found two duffel bags and a suitcase containing sealed plastic bags with Ecstasy tablets in them.

The drugs were taken to the Maine State Police barracks in Houlton, where MDEA’s laboratory enforcement team spent 12 hours counting 98,781 tablets by hand, making it the largest Ecstasy seizure ever in Maine, McKinney said.

Each tablet has a street value of $20 to $25, putting the total value in excess of $2 million, McKinney said, adding that the tablets were destined for sale outside of Maine.

Bernard LaFrancois, 44, of Van Buren was charged with aggravated drug trafficking. He is free on bail.

Ecstasy is a recreational drug that has long been associated with the rave culture.

AP-ES-07-24-07 1613EDT