A New Jersey man was arrested after police pulled him over for driving solo in the carpool lane and discovering two kidnapping victims in his back seat.
Luis Moreno, Jr., 26, was stopped around 8 a.m. Friday after he drove into an HOV lane headed for the George Washington Bridge. The Port Authority officer that pulled Moreno over claimed to only see one person in Moreno’s vehicle when he entered the lane.
After being stopped, Moreno pointed out to the officer that he, in fact, had two passengers sitting in the back seat of his SUV. He rolled the back window down to reveal two men, and was then allowed to go on his way. As Moreno began to roll away, however, one of the passengers attempted to escape out of the back window while screaming for help.
The officer then ordered Moreno to pull over once again, but he refused and continued driving. Soon he became stuck in traffic and officers caught up with him. They interviewed one of passengers, who told officers that Moreno had picked him up in Texas and agreed to drive him to Maryland. In return, Moreno was to be paid for his service.
When they arrived in Maryland, Moreno demanded more money from the man. When he told Moreno he couldn’t pay, the man was locked inside the vehicle along with the other passenger and driven to New York. According to reports, the doors and locks had been disabled so that only Moreno could control them. The victims’ cell phones were also confiscated during the kidnapping.
Both victims were reportedly newly arrived immigrants, and neither speaks English.
Moreno, who was driving with a suspended license and was wanted for parole violations in Texas, was charged with kidnapping, receiving stolen property, and criminal restraint. He is currently being held at a Bergen County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.