Unsafe lane changes in Sturbridge lead to bust

Shaun Moriarty, Citizen Chronicle file photo

STURBRIDGE — Erratic lane changes on Route 84 eastbound in the overnight hours led to the eventual arrest of two Bronx men allegedly trafficking cocaine.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, Trooper Martin Cunniff was on patrol Friday when, just before 3 a.m., he stopped a 2012 Honda Civic for speeding and making unsafe lane changes on Route 84. Juan Cruceta, 32, was driving the vehicle with 30-year-old Christopher Hammond in the passenger seat. Trooper Cunniff determined Cruceta was an unlicensed driver, while his passenger possessed only a learner’s permit.

Subsequent questioning raised red flags for law enforcement, who sought and were granted permission to search the vehicle.

“Both men exhibited nervous behavior and had trouble recalling basic details about their travel plans,” affirmed the State Police in a press release.

Trooper Cunniff and Trooper Michael Barrera conducted a search of the vehicle, locating $4,000 in cash on Cruceta, and two large packages containing a combined weight of more than 1 kilogram of a substance believed to be cocaine in the trunk of the Honda Civic, State Police reported.

Cruceta and Hammond were taken to the State Police Barracks in Sturbridge and both were charged with trafficking in cocaine over 200 grams, and conspiracy to violate drug laws. As the vehicle’s driver, Cruceta was also charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, speed, and marked lanes violation.

Both men were held pending their arraignment in Dudley District Court on Friday morning.

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