NJ cops bust two in tractor-trailer carrying $28 million in marijuana

Updated Mar 26, 2024
Marijuana leaves

The New Jersey State Police Mobile Safe Freight Unit recently conducted a commercial vehicle inspection of a tractor-trailer at the Greenwich Township Weigh Station in Warren County.

According to a statement from the NJSP, the shipping manifest reflected a load of oranges and no other products. A visual inspection of the cargo revealed pallets of oranges and 12 additional pallets of cardboard boxes. The boxes were not labeled and were inconsistent with the packaging used for the oranges, said the police statement.

Troopers said they obtained consent to search from the driver and co-driver, Ruben V. Rodriguez, 53, and Jose Santa Cruz Cheno, 59, of Hermasillo, Mexico. Both men were properly documented and legally in the country.

As a result of the search, 3.2 tons or 6,224 pounds of hydroponic marijuana, 40 pounds of Delta 9A powder (a cannabis concentrate), and 5,017 individual packages of cannabis products were discovered in the cargo hold. The  NYSP said the total weight for all of the products is 3.4 tons or 6,485 pounds.

The street value of the seized product is about $28.368 million, according to police.

Both men were charged with the following and held at the Warren County Jail pending further proceedings:

  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, first degree
  • Possession of Marijuana, fourth degree
  • Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana, second degree