RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. – A motorist stopped by a Ridgefield Park patrol officer had nearly $300,000 wrapped in vacuum-sealed bags stashed inside an electronically-controlled hidden compartment of an SUV, authorities told Daily Voice.
Officer Brad Gilmore followed the Ford Escape after it came off the I-95 exit ramp near Overpeck Creek “straddling the lane divider and switching lanes without signaling” just after 4 a.m. Dec. 28, Lt. Joseph Rella told Daily Voice.
The vehicle “continued to straddle the designated lane markings” before Gilmore finally stopped it on Route 46 in Ridgefield, Rella said.
While talking with the driver, 24-year-old Cristopher Roman, Gilmore noticed “after-market sheet metal on the rear of the vehicle and attached to the under carriage,” the lieutenant said.
A Bergen County Sheriff's K-9 dog summoned to the scene reactively positively to the smell of drugs in a compartment below a false floor board, he said.
The SUV was brought to police headquarters, where officers who’d obtained a search warrant found vacuum-sealed bags filled with $294,000 in cash stashed in the compartment, Rella said.
Roman – a Dominican native living in Yonkers – remained held on $100,000 bail Tuesday in the Bergen County Jail, charged with transporting property derived from a crime.