A Pleasant Valley man has been charged with drug trafficking after a deputy found a bottle of cocaine in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
Saul Maldonado, 37, was stopped by a Cass County deputy Wednesday on Interstate 49 just north of north Cass Parkway. The deputy said he saw Maldonado’s vehicle switch lanes abruptly, causing the driver of another vehicle to hit the breaks to avoid a collision.
During the traffic stop, Maldonado said he was on his way back home after a trip to Mexico and gave the deputy permission to search the vehicle.
During the search the deputy found a bottle labeled for garlic supplement pills, but noticed it was halfway filled with a white powder. Some testing later determined the powder to be nearly five ounces of cocaine.
Maldonado was taken to the Cass County Jail on a second-degree drug trafficking charge.
The deputy said during an interview with Maldonado at the jail, he noticed he was wearing a necklace with a La Santa Muerte pendant. The deputy said from prior training, he knew that symbol was used as a patron saint for drug traffickers.
Maldonado remains in the Cass County Jail under a $10,000 cash-only bond. If convicted, he’ll face a sentence of 5-15 years in prison.