A strong smell of marijuana emanating from a car led a Port Authority police officer to pull over the driver, to discover small amounts of marijuana and over $41,000 in cash inside the vehicle, authorities said.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Manuel G. Rodriguez, 39, of Kearny was charged with driving under the Influence of drugs, financial facilitation of a criminal act, driving with a suspended license and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle as a result of the traffic stop, Port Authority police spokesman Joe Pentangelo said.
Additionally, Jessica M. Torres, 28, of Miami, FL, was charged with possession of marijuana.
On Thursday at about 9 p.m., a Port Authority police officer was stationed outside the Holland Tunnel entrance in Jersey City when he noticed “a strong odor of marijuana” coming from Rodriguez’s black 2008 Honda, authorities said.
After stopping the vehicle, which was traveling westbound, Rodriguez could not produce a driver’s license or vehicle registration and admitted “he had been smoking a joint,” officials said.
The officer also noted that Rodriguez’s clothes had a strong smell of marijuana and that his eyes were bloodshot and the driver eventually consented to a vehicle search after admitting he had a joint on the floor next to the driver’s seat, police said.
The search of the vehicle yielded three hand-rolled cigarettes of suspected marijuana and a black plastic bag containing $39,930 on the back seat, Pentangelo said.
Furthermore, a police canine was summoned and indicated the presence of contraband on an empty cooler in the trunk of the vehicle, also indicated on the money seized. An additional $1,191 was recovered from the driver’s front pocket, authorities said.
Police added that “there were also numerous air fresheners scattered throughout the vehicle.”
A total of $41,120 was seized by police, along with three hand-rolled cigarettes containing suspected marijuana. The couple is due back in court on August 7, officials said.