A man has been charged with possession with intent to distribute after law enforcement found several kilograms of cocaine in his vehicle April 29 during a traffic stop.
Luis Daniel Hernandez Mendoza, 31, a citizen of Mexico, was arrested following a Tennessee Highway Patrol traffic stop with help from the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit.
He has been charged in a criminal complaint, which is supported by an affidavit, with possession with intent to distribute 20 kilograms of cocaine.
According to the affidavit filed April 29, a THP trooper conducted a traffic stop after they noticed an Audi traveling too closely to two other vehicles on Interstate 75.
“In summary, the affidavit alleges that the Tennessee Highway Patrol stopped Hernandez-Mendoza for a traffic violation,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Tennessee. “Hernandez-Mendoza consented to a vehicle search. During the search of the vehicle, agents from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and DEA found 20 kilograms of cocaine concealed in a trap compartment in the vehicle.”
The white powdery substance tested positive for cocaine, according to the affidavit.
If convicted, Hernandez-Mendoza faces a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years and up to life.
Lt. Bill Miller, THP public information officer, declined comment and said the case was being handled by the U.S. Department of Justice.
A representative from the Department of Justice also declined comment on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Davidson represents the United States.
An initial appearance was scheduled Friday in U.S. District Court in Knoxville before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton.
“Great job to THP and to K9 Kane and his handler, Lt. Michael Watkins,” according to a release from LCSO.