Briefcase Yields Drugs; Three On Bridge Arrested

Posted: March 19, 1988

A Philadelphia man stopped for speeding on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge was arrested along with his two passengers yesterday after he got out of his car and ran off with a briefcase that turned out to contain cocaine, police said.

Officer Ervin Lucas of the Delaware River Port Authority police said that at 9:40 a.m., he stopped a car driven by Claudio C. Diaz, 40, after seeing it speeding westbound on the bridge.

Police said Diaz, of the 3300 block of North Hope Street, got out of the car and ran while his passengers, Renee Williams, 23, and Melissa DeMaio, 19, both of Chester, remained in the back seat.

Lucas chased Diaz, who was carrying a briefcase, for several feet. Police said the briefcase Diaz was carrying flew open, exposing three brown paper bags. Other police arrived and helped to place Diaz and the two women under arrest.

When authorities inspected the paper bags, they found 10 ounces of cocaine and two ounces of crack. Police said the drugs had an approximate street value of $37,000.

Diaz; Williams, of the 1200 block of Clover Lane, Chester, and DeMaio, of the 900 block of Meadow Lane, Chester, were being held at the Camden County Jail after failing to post $40,000 bail, pending a preliminary hearing. No date was set for the hearing.

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