A Lyndhurst police sergeant whose cruiser was nearly struck by a van barreling into the parking lot of a troublesome motel found the driver carrying more than 80 folds of heroin, among other drugs, authorities said.
Sgt. Rick Pizzuti was pulling out of the Winslow Hotel lot while on routine patrol around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday night when a 2003 GMC van sped in, nearly hitting his car, Detective Sgt. Vincent Auteri said.
Pizzuti stopped the van, driven by Ilir Cira, 35, who initially gave the sergeant a false name when he couldn't produce a driver's license, registration or insurance, Auteri said.
Patting him down, Pizzuti found Cira carrying 40 heroin folds and a hypodermic needle, the sergeant said.
Backup Officer Steven Batista found another needle on him, as well, he said.
A search of the van turned up 42 more folds of heroin, along with five bags of crack, three more needles, six glass pipes and a joint, Auteri said.
After confirming his true identity at headquarters, police charged Cira -- most recently of Rutherford -- with various drug possession counts, as well as possession of hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia and hindering arrest. He was sent to the Bergen County Jail to await a detention hearing.
The Rutherford Avenue motel has kept township police busy for years.
Earlier this month, they captured an ex-con who barricaded himself in a room at the Winslow after a lengthy chase.
Pizzuti found another guest getting into a stolen U-Haul while carrying crystal meth outside the motel in September.
Two years ago, a troubled man jumped off a roof at the Winslow and later became stuck in the Passaic River mud as he tried to flee.
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