Drug trafficking in and through Mississippi continues to be a challenge for law enforcement. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, a recent cocaine bust in Rankin County is a reminder of the constant battle against illegal drugs.
Interstate 20 stretches from Texas to South Carolina. It's a straight path through Dallas and Atlanta for drug runners. Just last week in Mississippi, Pearl Police seized 125 lbs. of cocaine during a traffic stop on I-20. They say it's the largest cocaine bust on an interstate in the U.S. so far this year. Lieutenant John Johnson arrested the driver, Ernesto Reyes-Armendariz.
"He was very cooperative from the beginning all the way to the very end."
"Did he tell you what he was doing?"
"No sir. He decided to exercise his rights at the time and not answer any questions due to his family. He said he didn't want his family to be killed."
The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics says they were involved in 2,300 drug cases and 1,300 drug arrests statewide last year. More than 300 cases involved cocaine. Nearly 400 involved marijuana. More than 500 were prescription drugs. And more than 800 involved meth. Pearl Police Lieutenant Brian McGairty says meth is a big problem.
"I think it's an easily manufactured drug. I think it's highly addictive. Obviously, for the money part as well, on the retail side of things to incorporate. And some of them think it's easier to conceal."
MBN says there were 97 drug overdose deaths last year.