Police accused two men arrested in Fort Lee, New Jersey, of using a hidden
compartment in their vehicle to conceal large amounts of cash. Police
suspect such compartments facilitate
The two men, traveling through the state, are both residents of the Bronx
and were reported to be in possession of over $780,000 in cash stashed
inside a secret compartment in their Ford Expedition SUV.
The cash was reportedly inside a wooden box. Police claimed that the hidden
compartment scanned the entire length of the car, replacing the rear seats
in the vehicle and that it was hydraulically operated to better facilitate
the hiding and easy retrieval of money, drugs, weapons, or other contraband.
The state trooper who stopped the vehicle on Interstate 95 stated that
he did so because he observed it weaving in and out of variously lanes
without signaling. The two 45-year-old men in the vehicle, when questioned,
allegedly gave conflicting stories about their destination, their point
of departure and the origin of their acquaintanceship.
The officer searched the vehicle with the assistance of a K-9 unit. He
found the cash, but failed to find any drugs in the vehicle. Criminal
charges pending against the two men include conspiracy and money laundering.
They remain in jail in lieu of $500,000 in bail apiece.
Media accounts of the arrest promoted some in the New Jersey state legislature
to renew calls to pass proposed legislation which would outlaw the installation
of hidden compartments in motor vehicles. Such legislation has been proposed
annually since 2004, but has always failed to pass. Proponents and law
enforcement agencies assert that such compartments are frequently used
by drug traffickers and others engaged in criminal acts.
Source: NorthJersey.com, "Fort Lee traffic stop brings renewed call to ban
hidden car compartments," April 26, 2012