Almost 7 pounds of suspected cocaine seized during Pa. Turnpike traffic stop in Hempfield | TribLIVE.com

Detroit man is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison after state police said they found almost seven pounds of suspected cocaine hidden in his car, according to court papers.

Kenneth Johnson, 36, is charged with two drug offenses.

A trooper was patrolling the Pennsylvania Turnpike Monday afternoon in Hempfield when a Toyota Camry changed lanes and failed to use a turn signal near mile marker 75, according to court papers. The car had two different Michigan registration plates, police said.

During a traffic stop, a warning was issued and the driver, identified as Johnson, permitted police to search the car. Troopers found a “large void” underneath the rear seat and the drugs were inside, according to court papers.

Johnson is being held in lieu of $75,000 bond. He did not have an attorney listed in online court records. A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 24.

Cocaine availability increased from 2017 to 2018 in the Philadelphia Field Division area, which includes Southwestern Pennsylvania, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment. Cocaine played a role in about 25% of drug overdose deaths in Westmoreland County in 2019, according to coroner statistics.

It’s the second time in less than a month that a large amount of drugs was found in a hidden compartment of a vehicle traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike through Westmoreland County. Two New York men were indicted after state police reported finding more than four pounds of fentanyl in their vehicle on Oct. 20 during a traffic stop in Mt. Pleasant Township. The pair told investigators they were headed to Pittsburgh.

Source: Almost 7 pounds of suspected cocaine seized during Pa. Turnpike traffic stop in Hempfield | TribLIVE.com