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Routine Route 17 Stop Leads Mahwah Police To Hidden Pot, Cocaine

Albert Gonzalez, Anthony Estevez
Albert Gonzalez, Anthony Estevez Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco

MAHWAH, N.J. – Two Queens men had several bags of marijuana and a bag of cocaine stashed in their car when Mahwah police said they stopped them on Route 17.

Albert Gonzalez, 25, and Anthony Estevez, 27, “gave conflicting stories on their travels” after Officer John Lange stopped their Toyota 4Runner for equipment violations on the highway’s northbound side, Police Chief James N. Batelli said Wednesday.

Lange immediately spotted a small amount of pot on the passenger side and could smell a strong odor of the drug from inside the vehicle, the chief said.

He was joined by fellow Officers Chris Monico and Chris Fasulo, and both men were interviewed separately.

A consented search of the vehicle turned up a large vacuum-sealed bag containing several smaller bags of marijuana, along with several small, clear empty baggies commonly used to package the drug, Batelli said.

The officers also spotted molding on the floor and areas of trim that appeared to have been loosened, the chief said.

Fasulo found the cocaine in an empty cavity in the driver’s side door, he said.

Gonzalez and Estevez were charged with various drug-related offenses and released pending a hearing.

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