HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Harrison County jury found a Houston, TX man guilty of transporting 200 pounds of marijuana into Mississippi during September 2010. District Attorney Joel Smith announced that it took the jury only one hour of deliberation Wednesday to convict 71-year-old Henry Jackson Parker Jr. of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Smith said during the two-day trial, Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy Pablo De La Cruz testified that he made a routine traffic stop on Interstate 10 on September 18, 2010. De La Cruz said Parker acted nervous and gave inconsistent information to officers about his travel plans.
De La Cruz said Parker gave him consent to search the vehicle and 200 pounds of marijuana were found in the trunk of the car hidden in cattle feed bags. Parker claimed the car was a rental and he was unaware of the massive amount of drugs in the trunk.
Testimony during the trial revealed that the car parker was driving had been rented by someone else in Texas. Parker told investigators that he was on his way to Moss Point to meet a group of friends. During the trial, Parker admitted that once in Moss Point the men would take the car for about 30 minutes before returning it to him for his trip back to Texas.
Parker said that he is a minister who helps young men establish businesses, and he had made the same trip to Mississippi on 5 or 10 different occasions.
Harrison County Narcotics Division Lieutenant Ryan Hearn testified that the smell of marijuana in the car was extreme and could not have been ignored by any passengers. Hearn also said the street value of the drugs was between $150,000 and $200,000.
"The defendant knew exactly what was in the car, and he had every intention to bring it into our State," said Assistant District Attorney Alison Baker.
Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced Parker to 20 years and a suspended 10 years. Parker will serve 10 years in prison.