By Tom Tracy
A team of “weed-whackers” were among six officers honored as “Cops of the Month” during Wednesday’s 63rd Precinct Community Council meeting. Anti-crime team members Police Officer Robert Martinez and Police Officer Bobby Murphy were commended for nabbing a Florida man driving through Flatlands with a minivan filled with marijuana – over 600 pounds of it, to be exact, according to Deputy Inspector Kevin McGinn, the commanding officer of the 63rd Precinct. “It was a great collar,” said McGinn, adding that the marijuana seized had a street value of $2 million. Officers Martinez and Murphy were on routine patrol at 11 p.m. on November 2 last year when they spotted the minivan blow through a stop sign on Schenectady Avenue. The cops followed, pulling the van over a few blocks away, figuring that all they were going to do was hand out another ticket. Then everything changed. When the van pulled over, the two men inside jumped out of the car and bolted. The two officers managed to chase one of the men, identified as 30-year-old Marcus King, down. But it wasn’t until they got back to the van that they knew this wasn’t an ordinary traffic stop. “You could smell it,” Martinez said. “They [the suspects] tried to cover it up with perfume, but you could still smell it.” The second suspect was never apprehended. King claimed that the four bushels of plastic-wrapped marijuana and $25,000 in cash that police found wasn’t his and has refused to deal with authorities. As of this writing, narcotics investigators were trying to track the drugs back to the source. Other officers honored as “Cops of the Month” included Sergeant Laverne Wilson-Valis and Police Officer Victor Veintimilla, who were credited with arresting a man armed with a gun during a robbery in Manhattan. On the day of their arrest, the two officers had been ordered to go to the 1st Precinct in Manhattan to receive some extra training. The gunman they apprehended was being sought for a murder and a shooting – both of which occurred in Brooklyn. Police Officers Delores Reyes and Josephine Piparo were also honored for arresting a burglary suspect late last year.