JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Operation Crackdown struck before dawn Tuesday and targeted 20 homes across Jackson County. The sweep led to 18 suspects arrested on drug charges. Officers also seized various weapons, drugs, and cash. The drug bust was considered a significant joint operation for the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team.
On the table were nine weapons, including handguns, a shotgun, and an assault rifle. Officers say they also seized 48-grams of cocaine, two grams of crack cocaine, 36-doses of Hydrocodone, and $7,000 in cash.
"This is the fruits of it, some good police work," said Pascagoula Police Chief Kenny Johnson.
The South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team (MET) led the seven-month undercover investigation. Officers said they conducted drug buys.
"We targeted everything, crack, prescription drugs, marijuana," said Johnson.
Most of the 18-arrests were made in Moss Point and Gautier.
"We'd like to thank the officers that were out in the field. This is just a small picture of a larger portrait of what we do on a daily basis as law enforcement to try to eradicate drug use in our communities," said Gautier Police Chief Dante Elbin.
"Good job to the team that's here now and the team that's still out working. This has been a collaborative effort between all of us and I'm so happy that we're back together to fight drugs in Jackson County," said Moss Point Police Chief Art McClung.
That partnership was the theme of the morning news conference. It was the first drug round-up since the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and the Ocean Springs Police Department joined the MET Task Force in June.
"We're happy to get some folks out here and start gaining experience in working together with these guys who've done a great job, and we're looking forward to working with them more," said Terry Harris, Patrol Commander for the Ocean Springs Police Department.
Agency leaders said by pooling manpower, equipment and experience, they can now tackle the drug problem across the county.
"We want these bad guys to realize that don't worry about Moss Point anymore, because that's where they were. Don't worry about Pascagoula. Let's worry about where they're at next, because we're all over the county. We're a much bigger team. We have a lot more resources, and we're going to attack each one of these little pods one at a time," said Jackson County Sheriff Charles Britt.
All 18-suspects are charged with multiple counts of sale of a controlled substance. Investigators say some of them face charges of possession of firearms by a convicted felon. The MET task force is still looking for six more suspects. Various state and federal agencies assisted with Operation Crackdown, including the U.S. Marshals and National Guard.