EXCLUSIVE: Heroin flows through Bergen County’s major arteries, from the Turnpike to Routes 287, 80 and 17, to the George Washington Bridge, the source of an unceasing flow of smack and other drug traffic that Fort Lee Police Chief Keith Bendul’s department is trying to clog.
So when a driver who was stopped on Routes 1 & 9 just barely opened his glove compartment to retrieve his registration and insurance card, Bendul said, Officer Thomas Ripoli wanted a closer look at what looked like a heated-sealed zip-lock bag inside.
Bendul said Ripoli also smelled raw pot from inside the 1995 Honda Accord, so he called for backup and ordered all four occupants out.
Driver Abdul Khan, 20, of Carlstadt refused to allow police to search his car, the chief said.
So all four were released that June 17 night, while officers from Fort Lee’s Narcotics Unit held on to the car and applied for a search warrant, which was granted the next morning, the chief said.
Ripoli and the narc squad turned up nearly 300 small envelopes of heroin stamped with the “Adidas” and “Internet” brands, he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Also found in the car were 22 zip-locked bags of cocaine, large heat-sealed bags of pot, scales, grinders and store-bought boxes of sandwich bags and zip-locked bags, Bendul said.
Police searched for two weeks before they found Khan and one of his passengers, 21-year-old Christopher Diaz of Saddle Brook, at the Garden State Plaza on July 2.
Khan made $100,000 bail the next day, while Diaz remained held on the same amount early this morning. Both are charged with possession of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, with the intent to sell the drugs, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Similar charges were draw up on arrest warrants for the two other passengers, Gabriel Ramirez-Heredia and Ariel Gonzalez, both 22 of Paterson. Police were still looking for them last night.
“Heroin is killing kids all over the country and the county,” Bendul told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “So any chance we have to fight it, we will.
“Maybe we can keep someone’s kid from getting it so easily if from someone we just picked up.”