Highway Patrol stop in Loudon County leads to cocaine charges for Mexican national

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LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WATE) — A man has been charged with possession with intent to distribute following a Tennessee Highway Patrol traffic stop that yielded a cache of 20 kilograms of cocaine thanks to the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer “Kane” assisting.

Luis Daniel Hernandez Mendoza, 31, a citizen of Mexico, was arrested Wednesday in Loudon County and has been charged in a criminal complaint, which is supported by an affidavit; he is set to appear in court on Friday.

The affidavit alleges that a THP officer stopped Hernandez Mendoza for a traffic violation. Hernandez Mendoza agreed to a vehicle search. A K-9 with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, “Kane,” and his handler Lt. Michael Watkins gave a positive alert to the vehicle. During the search of the vehicle, agents from THP and DEA found 20 kilograms of cocaine concealed in a trap compartment in the vehicle.

The case is being investigated by THP and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Hernandez Mendoza’s initial appearance is scheduled for Friday, May 1, in United States District Court in Knoxville.

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