An ex-con who was driving without a license when Paterson police stopped him for speeding wept as officers found a stolen handgun and a half-pound of pot in his car, authorities said.
Officers Jon Dabal and Mohammad Bashir were on quality-of-life patrol in the 5th Ward when they saw the Chrysler 300 nearly hit the curb while turning onto Cedar Street from Summer Street around 9 p.m. Saturday, Police Director Jerry Speziale Jr. said.
The driver then turned onto Chestnut Street without signaling and parked in front of an active driveway, leaving half the car sticking out into the street, he said.
The officers caught an "overwhelming odor" of raw marijuana from inside the vehicle, then spotted a pot grinder in a cup holder, Speziale said.
Officers asked 38-year-old ex-con Javier Ortega of Paterson whether he had any other contraband in the vehicle -- at which point he began to cry, the director said.
"When asked again, he continued crying and asked if he could call his girlfriend," Speziale said.
Dabal stood by with Ortega for safety while Bashir searched the vehicle, he said
The search turned up a loaded Charter Arms .38 Special -- known as the "Pink Lady" -- as well as a large bag containing 53 individual baggies of pot and five rounds of ammo, he said.
An NCIC computer check showed that the gun had been reported stolen, Speziale said.
Ortega was charged with various drug and weapons offenses, including being a convicted felon possessing a firearm, the director said.
He also received several summonses for, among other offenses, careless driving, driving while suspended and having drugs in the car.
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