Operation First Strike targets Moss Point drug dealers

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Eighteen suspected drug dealers are behind bars following a three day undercover roundup in Jackson County. The arrests began Thursday in Pascagoula and Gautier, and ended early Tuesday morning in Moss Point. The operation, code named First Strike, was conducted by the recently formed Metro Enforcement Team.

Tuesday morning, the streets of Moss Point were blanketed with heavily armed officers.

"This has been a joint operation, along with the MET team of Jackson County, as well as the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, DEA and FBI. And this is just a continued effort in our approach to drug dealing," said Moss Point Police Chief Keith Davis.

According to Davis, this approach seems to be working.

"Anytime you have these operations, it sends that message to drug dealers that we're still out there. And if you are in the business of selling drugs, more than likely the person that you're selling to is going to be us," Davis explained.  "So we want to continue to send that message to drug dealers and tell them that this is not the place to sell drugs."

One of the most frustrating situations for police following these drug round-ups is that many of the suspects they arrest are back on the streets within 24 hours, free on bond.

This time around, Davis said they're going to try and make sure that doesn't happen.

"With this particular case, we're going to follow the cases through the judicial process. We're going to impress on the system to keep these individuals who can be kept in jail," said Davis.

With any operation like this, the possibility of a dangerous situation developing is always present. But steps are taken to lessen the chances of that happening.

"Officer safety is very, very high on our priority list," Davis said.  "As well as the safety of the citizens' safety. When we go into these residences, we want to make sure that those who are not involved with what we're there for are safe."

In addition to the drugs taken off the street Tuesday morning, police also confiscated several weapons and cash. Warrants for the arrests of four other people have also been issued.

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