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Secret vehicle compartments held $1M in heroin, loaded gun, $80,000 cash, Fort Lee police say

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Fort Lee police arrested two New York City men after finding found five kilos of heroin — worth an estimated $1 million on the street — along with a loaded gun and $80,000 in cash in remotely-controlled compartments in a pair of vehicles.

Detective T.J. Cullen was patrolling Route 4 West when he stopped a 2004 Honda Accord for an unspecified traffic violation around 11 p.m. Friday, Detective Capt. Stanley Zon said today.

The Honda had a Florida dealer tag that didn’t belong on it, Zon said.

The driver — identified as 30-year-old ex-convict Ferdinand M. Morales — gave police a driver’s license from Connecticut with another name on it, he said.

His front-seat passenger, 24-year-old Jose R. Rodriguez, claimed that Morales was his cousin and that they were headed to visit their aunt at an apartment in town, Zon said.

After receiving a search consent, Cullen found an electronically-operated trap under the back seat that contained $1,240 in cash and a key to a Ford that had Morales’ house keys on them, the captain said.

Both men were arrested on money laundering charges, he said.

Morales told police at headquarters that he was headed to his apartment at the Crest Apartments, so Cullen took him there and got his consent to search the apartment and garage, Zon said.

There he searched a Ford Escape and found a similar compartment in the rear floor, the captain said.

Inside was the five kilos, $76,460 in cash and a Taurus .22-caliber handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets, he said.

Morales was being held in the Bergen County Jail on a host of drug and weapons charges. Federal authorities also requested that he be detained should he make $200,000 bail.

Rodriguez was being held on $10,000 bail in the county lockup.

“Assistance was requested and received to continue the investigation from DEA High Intensity Drug Traffic Investigations Group 4 based on the high value seizure,” Zon said. “The investigation is ongoing at this time.”

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