Nine charged in local drug crackdown

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 19, 2007

Nine Brookhaven men were in jail Friday morning following aThursday afternoon operation aimed at cleaning drug dealers off thestreets of Brookhaven and Lincoln County, authorities said.

The project, called “Operation Crackdown” by law enforcementofficials, has been ongoing for several months and will continue,according to Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson and AssistantCommander John Douglas of the Southwest Mississippi NarcoticsUnit.

“It was very well planned out, I have to give the agents workingon this operation a round of applause,” said Henderson. “It’s beenabout the past four months that we’ve been working on thisoperation.”

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The nine men were booked on charges ranging from disorderlyconduct to sale of crack cocaine. Bond will be set Friday, andtheir arraignments are scheduled for Tuesday.

Those arrested in Thursday’s operation crackdown were:

* Darion K. Reese, 19, of 804 Dow St., possession of marijuanawith intent, warrant for sale of crack cocaine.

* Crandon D. Coleman, 22, of 51 Cloverdale, warrant for sale ofcrack cocaine.

* Anthony D. Thomas, 17, of 900 Williams St., warrant for saleof crack cocaine, possession of crack with intent.

* Willie J. Henderson, 25, of 737 S. Second St., two counts ofsale of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine with intent.

* Dennis O. Lee, 22, of 724 Marr St., sale of crack cocaine,disorderly conduct.

* Demetrius D. Wilson, 19, of 300 Old Wesson Road, warrant forsale of crack cocaine, county warrant for sale of crack cocaine,and possession of marijuana.

* Abe G. Blue, 23, of 618 East Cherokee St., sale of crackcocaine.

* Amon D. Herring, 19, of 625 E. Cherokee St., disorderlyconduct.

* Ahmad Butler, 19, of 920 Bryant St., disorderly conduct.

Officers and agents from SMNU, BPD, the Lincoln County Sheriff’sDepartment, and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics convergedThursday to deal a timely blow in the war on drugs, Henderson said.He said problems had been building on the street and officials feltit was time to move.

“We’d been having problems in some of those areas, and we wantedto get some of the trouble off the streets before it got anyworse,” he said. “I wish I could have let it go further, but we hadsome things we had to get taken care of.”

Douglas said it was hard to quantify an amount of drugs takenover the span of the operation, as undercover agents had beenmaking buys in small amounts for quite some time.

“We’ve made numerous undercover buys, and off the top of my headI don’t know how much we’ve bought,” he said.

Henderson said in his mind what matters isn’t the amount ofdrugs collected, but clearing the dealers off the streets.

“Sure, I’d love to get that big quantity of drugs and money forour department, but it’s the fact that these people are sellingillegal drugs that is the issue,” he said. “When they sell drugs toan undercover agent, they’re breaking the law. It’s illegal to selland possess.”

More than that, Henderson said, it’s the fact that theviolations are happening in Brookhaven that really bothers him.

“They’re violating state laws right here in Brookhaven, andwe’re going to do our job to stop that,” he said. “I’m notsatisfied, and we’re not going to stop here.”

Douglas cited the bridge that SMNU creates between the MBN andlocal law enforcement, saying that all the agencies involved in theoperation had communicated extremely well.

“The drug task force fills the gap between the state and localagencies, and that has a lot to do with the cooperation they showedat MBN, though Chief Henderson has a great relationship with them,too,” he said.

Henderson and Douglas said that simply because such a large movehad been made by law enforcement, it does not mark the end of theinvestigation, saying more arrests are expected today, and that allof Operation Crackdown will continue indefinitely.

Douglas said the progress made would have been impossiblewithout the work of patrol officers who work the streets everyday.

“We do this almost entirely on information from the public andfrom guys on patrol – they are invaluable,” he said. “There’s noway we can do what we do without them, because they see things thatwe don’t see. They’re our eyes and ears on the street.”

Henderson said he also was grateful for the cooperation betweenthe agencies.

“I want to thank the sheriff’s office and the Bureau ofNarcotics for their help,” he said. “And I want to emphasize to thecitizens that we need their help. If they see anything, we want toencourage them to call us.”