Bergen County prosecutor’s detectives seized sizable amounts of cash from accused money-laundering drivers from Pennsylvania, including $115,411 that they said a Philadelphia man had stashed in a secret compartment, during traffic stops in Fort Lee.
Eduardo Suarez-Couvertier, 26, was released pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack after detectives found the hidden cash “in an electronically operated aftermarket hidden compartment” when they stopped a 2007 Honda Pilot that he was driving, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.
A week earlier, Musella said, the same Narcotic Task Force seized $11,670 that they said they found under the driver’s seat of a 2007 Jeep after the driver, 48-year-old Valentin Casilla of Harrisburg, gave detectives bogus identification.
Casilla was ordered held in the Bergen County Jail pending extradition on an active criminal arrest warrant issued by the Harrisburg, PA Police Department, the prosecutor said. He’s charged locally with money laundering and hindering apprehension.
Both men are single and were each driving alone, the prosecutor said. Suarez-Couvertier is a salesman and Casilla is unemployed, he said.
In New Jersey, authorities bring money laundering charges when someone is accused of “hiding or attempting to disguise any illegally obtained money or profits.”
Unless the defendant can prove ownership, the money goes to law enforcement for crime-fighting and public-protection uses.
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