Three men face charges after a Route 4 traffic stop led Fort Lee detectives to discover more than $9,000 and two kilograms of cocaine hidden in secret compartments in a car, borough police said Wednesday.
Detective T.J. Cullen was checking the Best Western along the highway Monday when he spotted an Acura TL with tinted windows back into a parking space, then pull out and make a U-turn onto Route 4 eastbound, police said.
As police followed, the Acura “swerved off an exit ramp to I-95 north and continued to travel on Route 4 East,” according to Capt. Thomas Ottina. “Detective Cullen stopped the vehicle on Route 4 East near the ramp to Center Avenue.”
Cullen spoke with the driver, 34-year-old Francis Lanfranco, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who gave police consent to search the car, Ottina said. Police identified two passengers in the vehicle as Diego Rodriguez, 43, of Norton, Mass., and his cousin, 44-year-old Louis Sosa-Rodriguez, of the Dominican Republic.
The detective and his partner, Detective Cory Horton, discovered the cash hidden in an electronically-operated secret compartment under a back seat, police said.
The three men were arrested at the scene and the Acura was brought to police headquarters, where a borough police dog signaled for drugs in the car, according to authorities. Armed with a search warrant, Horton found another hidden compartment holding an estimated $60,000 worth of cocaine.
Police charged the men with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of Fort Lee High School and possession of drug paraphernalia. All three were being held at the Bergen County Jail on $100,000.00 bail.