Nearly a half million dollars worth of cocaine is off the streets thanks to vigilant Louisiana state troopers who were patrolling Interstate 12 Wednesday morning.

Troopers in the Hammond area stopped a Nissan Rogue driven by 51-year-old Michael Mendez of Houston for a traffic violation at approximately 10 a.m. After suspecting criminal activity, a trooper requested,  and was granted, permission to search the vehicle.

Michael Mendez Photo Courtesy of LSP

What he found was a semi-automatic handgun and 15.5 kilograms (34.2 lbs.) of cocaine worth more than $450,000 concealed in a compartment.

Mendez was arrested for felony possession of Cocaine over 400 grams and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.