State police seize 55 pounds of cocaine in I-5 traffic stop

Oregon State Police seized 55 pounds of "high-grade" cocaine this morning during a traffic stop on Interstate 5 near Ashland.

According to OSP Sgt. Dave Beck, a trooper stopped a 2011 Nissan Altima this morning near milepost 12 for a traffic violation.

The driver was identified as Israel Mendez-Gonzalez, 57, of San Bernardino, Calif.

A search of the Altima revealed 25 individually sealed bags of cocaine hidden in the car. The cocaine was sniffed out by a drug dog, Beck said in a news release.

In all, the bags contained 55 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $875,000, OSP said.

Mendez-Gonzelez was arrested and lodged in the Jackson County Jail for possession and manufacture of cocaine. His bail is set at $60,000.

Two passengers, an elderly female and juvenile male, were released later and not arrested.

— Chris Conrad

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