A Waldwick driver who tried telling Mahwah police who stopped him on Route 287 that the pot they smelled was from passing cars had a collection of drugs in his, authorities said.
Officers David Sinisi and Dennis Toomey both smelled the familiar odor after stopping 29-year-old Michael Occhipinti for several motor vehicle violations on Saturday, Police Chief James N. Batelli said.
Both Occhipinti and a female passenger from Warwick, NY, who was with him “denied there was any odor,” the chief said.
Police interviewed the pair separately, at which point Occhipinti said he’d smoked earlier, Batelli said. He then handed over a small amount of pot to the officers, the chief said.
The odor from inside the car remained strong, however, so the officers ordered the couple out, he said.
Occhipinti at first told them the smell was coming from passing cars, Batelli said.
It was actually coming from a black backpack in the rear passenger seat, the chief said.
In the backpack, Batelli said, police found:
- several bags of pot, along with joints and two pounds of edibles;
- two bags of cocaine;
- LSD, amphetamine and Xanax tablets;
- Several package of THC oils;
- Vape pens, a scale and hundreds of small plastic baggies commonly used to package and distribute drug.
Occhipinti, who records show has a drug-arrest history stretching back nearly a decade, “took complete ownership of the backpack” and was taken into custody, Batelli said.
He was charged with various drug-related offenses and sent to the Bergen County Jail, where he remained held on Monday.
The woman was released without charges.
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