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Officers from across the South learn how to spot drug smugglers

Published: Mar. 18, 2015 at 9:16 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2015 at 9:53 AM CDT
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LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - Illegal drug trafficking is a crime that flows throughout our state, and many times it infests and cripples communities. The George County Sheriff's Department is spending this week helping law enforcers get the training needed to fight trafficking, and attack other problems that plague the highways.

"Some of the things we see is everything from smuggling of narcotics, currency, weapons, and there are even times we have encountered people being smuggled. The human sex trade is really big right now," Hinds County Sheriff's Deputy Tim Covington said.

Nearly 100 law enforcers from 25 agencies across the South are in George County this week to receive criminal interdiction training.

"We are watching videos. We are learning how to talk to commercial truck drivers, how their reactions are when we are on a stop," George County Sheriff Dean Howell said.

"Some of the fine tuning interview skills when you are talking to somebody and being able to pick up on somebody's deception," said Covington.

Taking the proper safety steps when making stops on the highway is also critical.

"You are dealing with cartels that are dealing with millions and millions of dollars. And when you stop and interfere with how they make their living, they take it personal," said Deputy Covington.

Vehicle search techniques are also part of this week's lesson plan.

"For instance the dash, the side panels, they don't haul stuff over the backseat. They conceal it," said Howell.

This is the fourth year this program has been offered in George County, and it was Sheriff Dean Howell who pushed for it to come here. He said the drug game is nothing to play with and it's important that law enforcers have all the knowledge to combat this problem on the streets and highways.

"We just want to clean it up as much as we can to live in a safe place," Howell said.

Tyler Ragan traveled all the way from Oklahoma and believes the training he received so far this week will be invaluable.

"The good thing about the classes, it is just not about what your local agency is doing, but it is local agencies around the whole state," said Ragan.

The four day training session is taking place at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Lucedale.

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