TIPPING THE SCALES: Lyndhurst cops bust 2 who ‘hid’ 70 lbs. of marijuana in car

Photo illustration by Michelle Rybeck

LYNDHURST

It appeared that a pair of Essex County residents stopped by police had a lot of laundry in their vehicle but not the kind you put in the washer.

There was a distinctive odor coming from the laundry bags but it didn’t really lend itself to being cleaned.

Here’s an account of the incident from the Lyndhurst Police Department:

On Sunday, Oct. 22, at about 10:20 a.m., Officer Joseph White conducted a motor vehicle stop on Park Ave. near the Rt. 3 overpass.

Police said the vehicle, which White observed traveling east on Rutherford Ave. prior to turning onto Park, reportedly had tinted windows and no front license plate.

While speaking to the two occupants, White detected a strong smell of raw marijuana coming from inside the car, police said.

Police said the male passenger — later identified as Alexander Hernandez, 26, of Belleville — was removed from the vehicle to the sidewalk where he was confronted with the officer’s suspicions.

A pat-down of the passenger produced several cellular phones, more than $2,000 in cash and one Oxycodone pill, police said.

Police said the driver, Janetty Cordero, 24, also of Belleville, was also removed from the vehicle and reportedly admitted to having marijuana in a container in her purse.

But that discovery turned out to be a mere pittance, compared to what came next as a further search of the vehicle’s interior turned up “four large laundry bags full of marijuana in numerous plastic sealed bags,” according to police.

LPD Det. Capt. John Valente elaborated: “The seized evidence was transported to the BCPO (Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office) Monday morning (Oct. 23) where its official weight was determined to be 70 pounds.”

Given the volume of the illegal grass, Valente quipped that investigators surmised that the stuff “wasn’t for personal use,” but declined to elaborate.

Asked to assess the “street value” of the haul, Valente — after consulting with police narcotics experts — said that the cannabis has been known to sell for between $1,000 to $1,200 a pound.

So the entire load conceivably could have been “marketed” for “in excess of $70,000,” he said.

Both suspects were placed under arrest and booked at headquarters.

Hernandez and Cordero were each charged with possession of CDS (marijuana) with intent to distribute, along with possession with intent to distribute in a school zone.

Hernandez was additionally charged with possession of a prescription legend drug (Oxycodone) without a prescription and Cordero was also charged with possession of a prescription legend drug (Oxycontin) without a prescription.

Hernandez was transported to the Bergen County Jail where he was scheduled for a bail hearing Monday while Cordero was released on her own recognizance, pending a hearing.

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.