Suspicious package nets man’s arrest on drug charge

Published 5:00 am Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Itta Bena man is behind bars on drug charges Thursday after across-country package led authorities to a home in Brookhaven.

Jonavon Zequia Thomas, 31, of 103 North Carver St., Itta Bena,was arrested Wednesday on charges of possession of marijuana withintent to sell, authorities said. He is being held in the LincolnCounty Jail.

Southwest Mississippi Narcotics Enforcement Unit Commander TimVanderslice said the Los Angeles County Narcotics Task Force placedphone calls to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and localSMNEU agents to alert them of a suspicious parcel that was beingshipped out of a Federal Express terminal in California. L.A.County authorities said their K-9 had hit on the package assmelling of narcotics.

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“They explained what they had and we let the package comethrough,” Vanderslice said. “We flagged the package, which wascoming in to Ridgeland.”

Vanderslice said when the parcel arrived at the terminal inRidgeland, the Ridgeland Police Department’s K-9 Unit hit on thepackage again. Officials obtained a search warrant and found it tocontain about 28 pounds of marijuana.

The drugs were addressed to a residence at 255 Smurr Ave. inBrookhaven. SMNEU officials, along with the LCSD, the BrookhavenPolice Department, the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control theMississippi Bureau of Narcotics and Ridgeland police then conducteda controlled delivery.

Vanderslice said Thomas does not live at the address on SmurrAve., but that the address was being used as a delivery point forillegal packages.

According to SMNEU estimations, Vanderslice said marijuana sellsfor up to $100 a gram, and the package contained approximately 8-10kilograms.

Thomas has been a sporadic resident of Brookhaven in the lastyear or so, Vanderslice said, and some local residents had takenhim under their wing.

“He told us that he came here and was working onair-conditioning units with some apartments,” he said.

Vanderslice said the bust is an obvious example of greatteamwork by not only local and state authorities, but also bypolice in California.

“It just shows everyone’s working together,” he said. “If L.A.wouldn’t have called, this package would have gone, and ifRidgeland wouldn’t have worked with us, we’d have had that dope onour streets in Brookhaven.”