Drug Bust Nets More Than A Dozen Suspected Dealers

Pearl River County law enforcers put 14 suspected drug pushers out of business Wednesday morning. Before days end they hope to shut down ten others. The arrests follow a year long undercover sting operation.

WLOX NEWS learned a new state program played a role in Pearl River County's battle in the war on drugs. The drug cases against most of the suspected dealers were made months ago, so the chances of catching up with them at home, even at 5 AM, was hit or miss.

Officers had no luck at one house, but found who they were looking for at another.

"We're going to go after the drug dealer where ever he may be in business at and put him out of business," Picayune Police Chief Jim Luke said.

All of the suspected pushers are accused of selling either marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth or prescription drugs to undercover narcotics agents.

"Every arrest is a plus. Every case initiated is a plus. Every conviction is a plus," Steven Maxwell with the State Bureau of Narcotics said.

Maxwell is District Captain for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. He said members of the agency joined forces with Picayune police and sheriff's deputies for this sting operation.

"The program is designed to help departments with limited resources make stronger cases against those who pedal dope," Maxwell said. "Partnering with the Bureau of Narcotics gives those agencies much broader authority to conduct investigations."

Each of the 24 suspected dealers was indicted by a Pearl River County Grand Jury.

by Al Showers