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Three facing drug counts after vehicle stop in Monroe

Published March 24. 2010 05:00PM

Three persons are facing drug counts and firearms violations following a vehicle stop in Monroe County over the weekend.

Pocono Mountain Regional police stopped a vehicle about 9:10 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, along SR196 in Coolbaugh Township, for numerous traffic violations.

The vehicle, a Honda coupe, had a Flordia registration plate stating, "Support Law Enforcement." The driver was identified as Estebon Fernandez, aka, Steven, 19, and his two passengers were Joseph Morales, aka "JJ", 18, and a 16-year-old male, all from Pocono Summit.

After a brief investigation a consent search of the vehicle was granted. K9 Chase was brought to the scene and he alerted police to a rear passengers' back seat. Officers then checked this area and found a hidden compartment.

Inside the compartment were three large bags of suspected marijuana. A digital scale was concealed within a compact disc case and located. Evidence revealed there may have been a handgun present inside the vehicle.

The three were all placed under arrest and taken into custody. A further search of Morales revealed two, 20 gauge shot gun shells, a "side kick" holster and $795 in cash. A further check of the juveniles revealed $1,686 in cash. Fernandez had $21 on him, police said.

A search warrant was obtained for the car and found in it was a 9mm handgun loaded with seven rounds concealed within the same hidden compartment found earlier. A box of ammunition containing almost 100 rounds was also found in the car. The handgun was found to have the serial numbers filed off and further investigation will be required to identify if it is a stolen gun. The investigation is ongoing and due to their ages none of the suspects would be permitted to possess firearms.

Police have charged with three with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-marijuana, criminal conspiracy and related drug offenses. Firearm charges will be filed at a later date.

Morales and Fernandez are currently in the county prison in Snydersville while the juvenile was placed in a detention center awaiting juvenile court action.

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