ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. -- Rochelle Park police smashed a drug crew operating from a local hotel, arresting four men and seizing nearly six pounds of black tar heroin, $22,000 in cash, a loaded gun and two sedans with electronically controlled stash traps.
A fifth crew member was still at large ( see photo above ), authorities said.
As Lt. Dean Pinto and Officer Jared Shatkin watched, several men transported bags to and from what a source with knowledge of the investigation said was the Ramada Inn on West Passaic Street on Wednesday.
They approached two men in the lot -- identified as Alejandro Burgos, 36, of Asbury Park, and Adrian Ponce, 25, of Santa Ana, CA, Detective Sergeant James M. DePreta told Daily Voice.
Looking into a Honda Accord, the officers spotted a large bag of cash on the floor, DePreta said.
"In addition, an electronically controlled hidden compartment was [seen] in the open position," he said.
Ponce and Burgos were taken into custody and backups were called.
A man identified as 26-year-old Raul Guadalupe Corrales-Sarmiento of Senoloa, Mexico, opened the hotel room door, and in plain view on a night stand was a .45-caliber Glock handgun that turned out to be loaded with hollow-point bullets, DePreta said.
Detectives obtained search warrants for the hotel room and both the Honda and a Toyota Camry parked in the lot outside, the sergeant said.
They later seized the drugs, cash and vehicles, he said.
A fourth man was arrested: Jose Dela-Torre, 24, of Riverside, CA, DePreta said.
A fifth alleged member of the crew fled during the flurry of activity, he said.
Police tentatively identified him as Carlos Ayala, a Mexican national.
Ayala was described as 25, about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, with a medium build and wearing a light blue hoodie and blue jeans.
The other four were committed to the Bergen County Jail pending bail hearings on major drug and weapons charges.
Ponce and Burgos also were charged with possession of property derived from a crime.
Police Chief Robert Flannelly praised the "outstanding" work of his detectives and officers and thanked the Bergen County Sheriff's Office, New Jersey State Police and police from Fair Lawn, Maywood and Paramus for their assistance.