33 arrested in extensive year-long local, federal narcotics operation
More than $5 million in illegal drug trafficking has been halted in Neshoba County with 33 felony arrests so far since Friday in a year-long investigation by local, state and federal authorities, law enforcement officials said.
“This was a team effort to complete a mission to make Neshoba County and the city of Philadelphia a safer place to live and raise our kids,” Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark said on Friday at the Courthouse in announcing the massive operation that began around 5 a.m. with officers from about 12 different agencies.
Homeland Security Investigations New Orleans acting Special Agent in Charge Jack Staton said at the Neshoba County Courthouse, “Today we took dangerous drugs off the street that came here through the border.”
Five of the suspects have between eight and 10 charges related to the investigation. Most charges were conspiracy to commit a felony and related to drug trafficking.
Darrell Duchea Purifoy, 46, 518 Ivy Street, turned himself in to authorities Monday afternoon along with two other suspects.
He was charged with eight counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and on a charge of making harassing phone calls, a misdemeanor.
He remains in the Neshoba County Detention Center on a $120,600 bond.
Robert Germany and Marquail De’Onta Finley had the most charges against them with 10 each.
Finley, 31, of 10421 Road 610, was out Sunday morning on a $150,000 bond.
Germany, 44, 1040 Road 2648, remains in custody on a $150,500 bond.
In addition to the 10 conspiracy charges, he was also charged with trespassing.
Robert Martin “Rob” Donald, 40, 11571 Highway 16 E, was arrested on nine charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and one count of trespassing. He remains in custody on a $135,600 bond.
Brandon Andrew Clark, 30, 10540 Road 509, Union, remains in custody on $120,000 for eight charges of conspiracy to commit a felony.
The cases are being prosecuted by District Attorney Steven Kilgore.
The individuals were charged with conspiracy to commit crimes relative to narcotics possession and distribution, officials said.
Other arrests, according to the authorities, include:
• Jason Eric Hatten, 42, 10200 Road 2612, charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony. He was out Sunday morning on a $30,000 bond.
• Jamie Abel, currently serving a sentence with MDOC on burglary charges, will be charged with an additional three conspiracy to commit a felony charges in relation to the investigation.
• Michael Lee, 27, 10331 Road 359, Conehatta, faces seven charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and one count of possession with intent to distribute. He was out Sunday on a $155,000 bond.
• John Harvey, 41, Marty Stuart Drive, was arrested on six charges of conspiracy to commit a felony. He was out Sunday on a $90,000 bond.
• Nikki Landrum, 33, 10051 Road 1345, was arrested in connection with the investigation and has been charged with child neglect and remains in custody on a $25,000 bond.
• Angela Singleton, Clark said, is currently in rehab and is expected to turn herself in when she is released.
• Tomas “TJ” Wilkerson, 37, of 14969 Highway 488, was arrested and charged with seven counts of conspiracy to commit a felony. He remains in custody on a $105,000 bond.
• Dusty Cain, 38, of 10350 Road 282, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony. He is being held on a $30,000 bond.
• Barco Davis, 49, remains in the Neshoba County Detention Center on charges of sexual battery and gratification of lust. He was arrested in March. He will pick up six conspiracy to commit a felony charges in relation to this case.
• Donamechia Dan Carter, 41, 413 Barham Street, was out late Saturday afternoon on a $15,000 bond for a conspiracy to commit a felony charge.
• Mickey Warren, 59, 13660 Road 505, was arrested on seven charges of conspiracy to commit a felony. He is being held on a $105,000 bond.
• Parrish Clark, 37, 1013 Golf Course Road, was arrested on two charges of conspiracy to commit a felony. He remains in custody on a $30,000 bond.
• Jason Ray Tucker, 47,10090 Road 705, Union, was arrested on five counts of conspiracy to commit a felony. He was out Sunday morning on a $75,000 bond.
• Michael Lee Bryant, 29, 11633 Road 383, was arrested on six charges of conspiracy to commit a felony. He is being held on a $90,000 in bond.
• Richard Chad Cumberland, 32, 10121 Road 2826, was arrested on two felony conspiracy charges. He was out Sunday morning on a $30,000 bond.
• Jessica K. Jones, 40, 11340 Road 539, was arrested on two conspiracy charges. She was out Sunday morning on a $30,000 bond.
• James Germany, 44, 1023 Road 747, was arrested on six charges of conspiracy to commit a felony. He remains in custody on a $30,000 bond.
• Edwin Chris Malone, 46, 10501 Road 541, was arrested on three counts of conspiracy to commit a felony. He remains in custody on a $45,000 bond.
• Malissa L. Williamson, 52, 10952 Road 315, Union, was arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a felony. She was out Sunday morning on a $15,000 bond.
• Roventay Peden, 38, 271 A Northwest Street, has been denied bond on three conspiracy to commit a felony charge.
• April Shannon, 39, 10161 Road 375, remains in custody on a $15,000 bond for a conspiracy to commit a felony charge.
• Mahogany Clemons, 38, was arrested Friday evening on one count of conspiracy to commit a felony. She was out the following morning on a $15,000 bond.
• Christopher Lee Donald, 35, 1087 Bealman Road, was out on a $60,000 bond Sunday morning after he was arrested Friday evening on four counts of conspiracy.
• Dexter MaGee, 31, 532 Valley View Drive, was arrested and charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony on Saturday.
• Jacoby Lewis, 26, 811 Ricks Road, Noxapater, turned himself in on Friday on two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony. He was out Sunday on a $30,000 bond.
• Bobby Glenn Williamson was not an original target of the investigation but was found to be in possession of drugs when a suspect was arrested.
Williamson, 35, 10952 Road 315, was out Sunday on a $25,000 bond for possession of a controlled substance.
• Entony Burnside, 36, 407 Barham Street, turned himself in on one charge of the sale of marijuana. He received a $15,000 bond.
• Martin Lowery, 42, 10571 Road 610, was charged with six counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and received a bond of $18,000 after turning himself in on Monday.
The five who remain at large and are considered fugitives, officials said. Those six are:
• Shaun Dougherty
• Caleb Smith
• Timothy Stewart
• Jaedeius “Dee” Peebles
• John Netherland
The investigation, dubbed Operation High Life, included members of the Philadelphia Police Department and was led by Homeland Security Investigations New Orleans.
It is the result of ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force efforts statewide.
Philadelphia Police Chief Eric Lyons said that the investigation “could not be completed by just one agency.”
The investigation included Homeland Security Investigations Jackson, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Drug Enforcement Agency, Neshoba County District Attorney and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians as well as others.
“At the end of the day, due to the operation of all agencies and the arrests made the city of Philadelphia is a safer place,” Lyons said.
“However, the job of law enforcement does not end. The Philadelphia Police Department is dedicated to protecting and serving the citizens of Philadelphia with honor, integrity and service and looks forward to continued cooperation with all surrounding law enforcement agencies and citizens. Together we can make a difference.”
Clark said that $6,000 in cash, eight firearms and a small amount of drugs were seized. He said that those targeted were responsible for moving a significant amount of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana throughout Neshoba County.
Before Friday’s arrests, the ongoing investigation had resulted in 38 state and federal convictions and the seizure of 85 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $3.5 million, five kilograms of cocaine worth about $500,000, 270 pounds of marijuana worth $1 million, 300 dosage units of fentanyl worth about $6,000, and 16 firearms.
Staton said that before his post in New Orleans he had worked in El Paso, Texas, dealing with drugs coming over the United States-Mexico border. He said no community is immune to drug abuse and related violence.
Clark said the operation began around 5 a.m. Friday with several officers from roughly 12 different agencies in a rural part of the county.
“There were a lot of different agencies with a lot of different patches out there,” Clark said.
He said they started with 100 warrants on more than 35 individuals. By lunch, he said they had “spread the word” and had brought in 25 of their targets.
Clark said that by the time of the 1:30 p.m. Friday press conference at the Courthouse another had been pulled over and arrested by a Sheriff’s deputy and another had turned himself in.
Stanton spoke of the broader perspective.
“This investigation is about more than disrupting the flow of drugs being trafficked into and around our communities; it’s also about removing violent criminal elements that often accompanies transnational criminal activities,” Staton said.
“Today’s operation demonstrates that HSI will continue to support our law enforcement partners to identify, investigate, and disrupt criminal organizations that threaten our communities.”
Deputy Attorney General Mary Helen Wall also spoke during Friday’s press conference, which included Mayor James Young and Board of Supervisors President Kevin Cumberland.
Wall said Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office is working with investigations such as High Life to reduce the harm done by drug abuse and drug-related violence.
“This operation protects our children and those in our communities from dangerous, destructive and deadly drugs and from the violence that comes with these criminal enterprises,” Fitch said in a statement released to the media. “The Attorney General’s Office will continue to partner with local, state, and federal partners in efforts like this one to keep our communities safe and secure.”
The investigation’s most recent conviction occurred last Wednesday, with the sentencing of Landon Marquale Dupree, 35, of Philadelphia, who was charged with and pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Mississippi to selling methamphetamine to an individual on July 15, 2019. Dupree was sentenced to serve 189 months in federal prison, followed by eight years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $4,595 in restitution to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
The principal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force mission is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises, officials said.
“The damage caused by drugs and violence affects everyone across the nation, including here in Mississippi, said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the state of Mississippi Kevin Gaddy.
“The arrests today clearly demonstrate the combined strength that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies bring to bear in the battle against these violent drug dealers and strike a significant blow to their drug trafficking organizations. By working together, we are leveraging our respective resources and expertise to achieve results that we could not accomplish on our own. We will continue to work with all of our law enforcement partners, to relentlessly pursue these violent criminals and drug traffickers plaguing our communities.”