On Monday, January 2, 2017 Lt. Jesse Cohen #354 was on a plain clothes foot patrol in the northbound Mobil rest area along the Palisades Interstate Parkway (Englewood Cliffs NJ Section). At approximately 1815 hours he observed a tan Toyota Sienna, with Pennsylvania registration at the fuel pumps. The vehicle displayed several equipment violations and was subsequently stopped in the parking area after pulling away.
Lt. Cohen made contact with driver who was asked for his license and registration. After presenting identification, the operator, now identified as Mr. Torres Vargas, 32 year old male from Bronx NY, was asked to exit the vehicle. As Mr. Torres Vargas exited the vehicle Lt. Cohen observed a medium size knife in an open compartment on the driver’s side door. With a weapon in plain view, Lt Cohen contacted Headquarters and requested an additional police unit. Officers Anthony Burgos #398 and Rocco Guerriero #400 were dispatched and responded.
Mr. Torres Vargas was asked who owned the vehicle and he explained he did not know the owner’s name or the names of any passengers still inside the vehicle. While speaking with Mr. Torres Vargas Lt. Cohen could see he was more nervous than reasonable. Lt. Cohen then spoke to the passenger, later identified as Ruben Velazquez, a 50 year old male from New York NY. During his conversation, Mr. Velazquez gave conflicting travel plans and other indicators of criminal activity.
Lt Cohen conducted a Mr. Velazquez and in his left pocket he located a magazine containing five 9 mm rounds. Inside Mr. Velazquez’s right jacket pocket was a loaded Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm handgun. Inside Mr. Velazquez’s pants pocket Lt Cohen located a plastic bag containing suspected Heroin and a cut straw. Mr. Velazquez was immediately placed under arrest. Backup officers arrived and Lt. Cohen continued his investigation.
Mr. Torres Vargas was placed under arrest for the knife and a search of person revealed a ½ bull pill suspected Viagra, inside of a wallet. A subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in finding three pairs of gloves and three masks.
Defendant: Ruben Velazquez Age: 50 of New York, New York
Charges: 2C:39-5B Unlawful Possession of a Handgun
2C:39-4A(1) Possession of a weapon with unlawful purpose
2C:35-10A(1) Possession of Heroin
2C:36-2 Possession of CDS Paraphernalia
Remanded to Bergen County Jail pending bail and court.
Defendant: Jonathan Torres Vargas Age: 32 of Bronx, New York
Charges: 2C:39-5D Unlawful Possession of a weapon
2C:35-10.5E(1) Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug
Released on a summons pending court date.