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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The state House has passed a bill that would outlaw “secret” compartments in vehicles that are used in criminal activity.

The bill would make it a crime to have a “false or secret” compartment in a vehicle with the intent to use the compartment criminally. A false or secret compartment is defined as an enclosure integrated into a vehicle that represents a modification of the vehicle as originally built by the manufacturer.

“Cocaine is being transported via the Pennsylvania Turnpike in secret compartments to be distributed in Philadelphia all over the city, and in New Jersey,” says Montgomery County House Republican Kate Harper, the bill’s sponsor. “The district attorneys’ association has endorsed this bill as another tool that they need.”

But opponents argued, among other things, that the bill could open the door to unreasonable searches by law enforcement. The bill now goes to the Senate.

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