- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A Houston man arrested during a June 10 traffic stop and search that netted nearly half a million dollars’ worth of cocaine has been indicted on three counts of federal drug trafficking violations.

Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Michael Mendez was driving on Interstate 12 in Tangipahoa Parish when a Louisiana State Police trooper pulled him over for a traffic violation. During the stop, U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite said in a news release troopers discovered more than 15 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride and a loaded 9 mm Glock pistol inside the car.

Troopers say the cocaine, which had an estimated value of $450,000, had been hidden in a secret compartment within the vehicle.

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