State Police find over $450,000 worth of cocaine during a traffic stop near Hammond — drugs hidden in secret compartment _lowres

Michael Mendez

Troopers uncovered nearly half a million dollars worth of cocaine during a Wednesday morning traffic stop near Hammond, according to State Police.

About 10 a.m., a trooper pulled over a Nissan Rogue for a traffic violation, said Trooper First Class Dustin Dwight, a State Police spokesman.

During the stop, troopers became suspicious of the driver, Michael Mendez, 51, of Houston. He consented to a search of his vehicle, Dwight said in a news release.

State Police found 15.5 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a secret compartment within the vehicle, as well as a semi-automatic handgun, Dwight said. They estimate the value of the drugs at over $450,000.

Mendez was arrested on one count each of felony possession of over 400 grams of cocaine and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.