GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - For months, investigators kept a close eye on Martin's Grocery after receiving several complaints about drugs being sold out of the store. After gathering enough evidence federal, state and local police raided the store and found $200,000 worth of marijuana and spice, drug paraphernalia and a gun.
"I did not expect anything like this," North Gulfport resident Anthony Worthen said.
"It was a big shock to the neighborhood."
Another neighbor, who did not want to give his name, said, "I never had problems with drugs and things like that, but to see them out of the store with that amount of drugs it is surprising."
Many neighbors said they had no idea this was happening in their community, even those who shopped at the store.
"I never knew that was happening, but all I know is we used to come here and buy stuff and go about our business pretty much," said resident Dee Towner.
A few people did however say they heard drugs were being dealt at the store and were glad when they saw law enforcement officers raiding the business.
If you take a look at Gulfport's online crime mapping tool http://www.crimemapping.com/map/ms/gulfport and type in the address to the business, 2908 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, you will see in the past week, within a mile of the store, 12 crimes have been reported. Those crimes range from drug and weapon violations to fraud and vandalism.
"For the kid's sake and the community, I'm kind of happy for what happened, but at the same time I'm very sorry for his family." Worthen said.
Resident Frank Graham said having fewer drugs on the street makes him feel safer.
"You don't know what they are going to do when they take those drugs, where they are going to go but they shut it down so we don't have much to worry about now," Graham said.
The owner of the business, Johnson Tran, is being charged with possession of marijuana and spice with the intent to sell. Tran is also being charged with violating probation for a previous federal cocaine charge.