Thursday, July 5, 2007
up drug suspects
By SUE WATSON
A large grand jury docket in June returned 261 indictments, with over 80 drug related, according to Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
The department and collaborating agencies served numerous arrest warrants Friday in a roundup. Twenty-seven warrants had been served by 10 a.m. By 4 p.m. 33 had been served, Dickerson said. Of those about 10 individuals were on probation and most of those are expected to be held without bond with probation revoked.
The drug-related arrests were for sale and distribution of the controlled substances cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and marijuana and hydrocodone, Dickerson said. Some individuals were indicted with two or more counts, he said.
The large docket of drug-related cases culminated a 15-month or more undercover investigation by the sheriff’s department, the Third Judicial Narcotics Task Force and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Forty officers with these three agencies and with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the U.S. Marshal Service, and Mississippi Department of Corrections split up into teams to serve arrest warrants.
Dickerson said some cases had to be delayed due to a backlog of forensics work on seized contraband at crime labs.
“It’s the biggest roundup yet we’ve had,” Dickerson said. “It’s a continuation of our efforts and state authorities efforts to get these drug dealers off the street who continue to sell to individuals and to our youth.
“The possession, sale and distribution of these illegal drugs are poisoning our society and continue to make up about 80 percent of the arrests on property-related crimes and crimes of violence in our area, the state, and nationwide.”
Dickerson said his department is coupling strong efforts at law enforcement with youth education programs to try to deter drug-related crime.
“We’re continuing our drug education program in all schools in the county to educate youth about the harmful use of drugs,” he said. “I believe without question that education has helped prevent youth in early years from going down the wrong path.”
A number of those served warrants Friday were released on bond while some who were out on bond on similar charges will likely have their bonds revoked by the court, Dickerson said.
Dickerson said he believes gangs are pushing unlawful activities in the area and he has increased training of school resource officers for gang awareness education.
“We have school resource officers in each school and continue to train them to encourage our youth to get on the right track of behavior and to stay away from gangs,” Dickerson said. “So much of violence in large cities are without question related to gangs and drugs. We’re taking all preventative measures and applying law enforcement to keep this type of activity out of Marshall County.”
Two summer camps put on by officers with the sheriff’s department focused on gang resistance education and training (G.R.E.A.T.).
Officer Cathy Elliott, who worked with the federal grants under Dickerson’s charge, said about 60 youth participated in the G.R.E.A.T. summer camp. Youngsters receive instruction in responsibility, esteem, ambition and leadership and included with those lessons is information about gangs and drugs, Elliott said.
“We will continue drug awareness education with fifth graders in school and will implement the G.R.E.A.T. program this fall in school for fourth graders,” she said. “We want to expand this program which has a family component and a summer component. And we will seek federal dollars to implement one or both of these components.”
All arrests Friday were made without incident, Dickerson said.
The grand jury also returned true bills for capital murder in two stabbing death homicides that took place on Woods Road near Watson earlier this year.
Angie Jones, 24, and Anthony Green, 25, of Marshall County have been in jail without bond charged with two counts each of capital murder in the deaths of Tolbert Scholar Jr. and Reamus Williams.
Dickerson said the next appearances of the two defendants in court will be formal arraignment proceedings in circuit court.
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