Port Authority police pot stop yields $41,000 in suspected drug money from couple at Holland Tunnel

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Port Authority police seized more than $41,000 in suspected drug proceeds from a Kearny man and a Miami woman whose pot-reeking vehicle was stopped exiting the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City.

Photo Credit: Courtesy PORT AUTHORITY PD

Officer John Adams stopped the black 2008 Honda after smelling burning marijuana Thursday night, the authority’s Joseph Pentangelo told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning.

The driver couldn’t produce a driver’s license (which was suspended) or registration, he said.

Asked about the car’s ownership, 39-year-old Manuel G. Rodriquez “gave conflicting statements and volunteered that he had been smoking a joint,” Pentangelo said.

The officer said that Rodriguez’s clothing also reeked of pot and that his eyes were bloodshot and watery.

Rodriguez consented to a search, “admitting he had a joint on the floor next to the driver’s seat,” Pentangelo said.

The search turned up three joints, a black plastic bag containing $39,930 on the back seat and various air fresheners scattered throughout the vehicle — as well as $1,191 in Rodriguez’s front pocket, he said.

Soon after, a K-9 unit “indicated the presence of contraband in an empty cooler in the trunk and indicated on the money seized,” Pentangelo said.

Rodriguez and his passenger — 28-year-old Jessica Torres — were arrested on drug charges.

Rodriguez also was charged with financial facilitation of a crime and driving under the influenece with both a suspended license and drugs in the vehicle.

They were given Aug. 7 court dates and released.

The money was vouchered pending forfeiture proceedings, Pentangelo said.


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