16 Mississippians are facing federal drug charges for trafficking Methamphetamine into the Magnolia state from California. Law enforcement officials say large drug trafficking rings are replacing small-local dealers.
According to three federal indictments unsealed yesterday, 16 Mississippi residents are accused of helping to import Meth through the US Postal Service and by vehicle. US Attorney for Southern Mississippi Greg Davis told reporters that the arrests took a large chunk out of the state's underground meth market.
"What we target are the major drug distributors, and in these three separate indictments although there is one common person, this person and co-conspirators were major distributors of Meth in Central Mississippi." says Davis. "We would say with this a significant dent has been put in the drug trafficking central Mississippi."
However, some local law enforcement officials are worried that this latest drug bust is another sign that drugs are becoming big business in the Magnolia state. Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner's department helped conduct the investigation that led to the arrests. He says an increase in meth trafficking has become the number one source of the controlled substance in his jurisdiction.
"Several years ago, just about everything we were dealing with was local cooks, and now virtually everything has to be brought in." says Waggoner. "Most of the Meth we're dealing with now is coming out of the Southwest. Out of the California and Arizona area. As soon as you have one, take a group off, you have another group of dealers that take their place. They come back. This is three we've had in the last six years in the central part of the state."
While local law enforcement officials are concerned that drug trafficking is on the increase. Others feel confident that cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies will be able to handle drug traffickers. Allen Ward is with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
"Our team effort and with the feds, coming from a state agency, that's what we need to do, maintain that and keep our intelligence apparatus moving." says Ward. "That's the biggest thing is gathering intelligence and keep a partnership with the federal agencies."
According to a release from the US Attorney's office, the group arrested yesterday is believed to have distributed over 100 kilograms of Methamphetamine in Mississippi and California.