Driver reached for 9 mm with hollow-point bullets, cops say
ROCHELLE PARK — Police say an accused drug dealer tried to reach for a weapon in a scuffle with the officer who pulled him over Saturday.
Rochelle Park Detective Lt. James M. DePreta said in a news release that Saturday afternoon, Officer Chris Kiszka saw a white Cadillac with New York plates registered to a different vehicle — a Jeep — traveling through town.
When Kiszka stopped the car, he smelled raw marijuana, DePreta said. New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use in November, but Gov. Phil Murphy has yet to sign a law setting up the state's framework for sales and regulations. And even at that point, it could be several months before all the bureaucratic pieces are in place. In the meantime, possession and recreational sales remain illegal.
DePreta said when Kiszka removed the river from the car, the driver began reaching for his waistband — where police later found he had a 9 mm handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets.
The officer and driver struggled briefly in front of a 7-Eleven, police said. Sgt. Jared Shatkin, Officer Franklin Laboy, Capt. Glenn Brunet, and Officer Brendan Stapleton all assisted Kiszka, DePreta said.
The driver, Josean Diaz, 21, of Union City was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of hollow-point bullets, resisting arrest, obstruction, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute.
Police also say his front-seat passenger was removed from the vehicle but resisted arrest. Joshua Perez, also 21 and of Union City, was charged with obstruction, resisting arrest, and marijuana possession with the intent to distribute.