Drug running operation nets 37th arrest


An additional arrest has been made in a multi-year, ongoing federal drug running investigation that has so far netted 37 of 38 suspects wanted since May.

The arrests have involved the seizure of more than $5 million worth of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in Neshoba County, the authorities said.

The latest suspect, Timothy Kaleb Smith, 20, 324 North Street, Union, was arrested on Sept. 3 and charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony, which is what most of the chargers were with no specificity.

Smith was brought into custody just before noon Sept. 3, according to Neshoba County Detention Center records. He remained in custody as of Tuesday morning.

Smith’s arrest comes as arrest number 37 of the 38 suspects targeted by Operation High Life, which netted 27 people on one day back in May. 

The multi-agency investigation, dubbed Operation High Life, was led by Homeland Security out of New Orleans.

The investigation’s most recent conviction occurred on May 12 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.

Authorities are seeking the last remaining suspect, Timothy Stewart, in connection with the alleged drug crimes.

The most recent arrest before Smith’s arrest on Friday was John Netherland, 55, of Philadelphia who was arrested in Flowood in early June and was extradited to the custody of the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office after Flowood Police established that the NCSO was looking for him.

He was charged with four felony counts of conspiracy to commit a crime.

More than 27 people were arrested on Friday, May 14. The arrests were led by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Neshoba County District Attorney and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians as well as others following a multi-year investigation in collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations New Orleans.

“The arrest culminating Operation High Life is a definitive example of the coalesced commitment among local, state and federal law enforcement to ensure public safety for all Mississippians,” said Col. Steven A. Maxwell, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. “However, the seizure of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana is a clear indicator of how pervasive the drug culture is throughout our communities. These drugs were attributed to the loss of more than 500 Mississippians in 2020.”

Clark said Operation High Life has taken more than $5 million in illegal drugs off the streets of Neshoba County.

Prior to the May 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, 5 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.

The arrests are the result of ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force efforts statewide.

The investigation included Homeland Security of Jackson, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Drug Enforcement Agency, Neshoba County District Attorney and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians as well as others.

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