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Drug Bust
11/23/2010
Authorities add new names to trafficking bust

By John Howell Sr. and David Howell

Four Panola County residents have now been identified as among two dozen people arrested last week in what authorities describe as “one of the largest drug rings in the state” with connections across Mississippi to Texas and Mexico.

Shantana Joiner, age 32, 688 Lawrence Brothers Road, Batesville, and Bobby Joe Eggleston, age 51, 5903 Eureka Road, Courtland, have been charged for their roles in the marijuana and cocaine trafficking operations, according to an affidavit filed in U. S. Northern District Mississippi Federal Court in

Lonzo Lezell Griffin, of Courtland and Cypress, Texas, and Clemeko Dewayne Starks of Sardis were earlier identified by the MBN as having been arrested. Joiner and Eggleston join a growing list of defendants arrested as a result of an investigation that began over a year ago.

 The drug ring was “led by Lonzo Griffin and Michael Allen,” according to an affidavit filed in U. S. District Court in Aberdeen by MBN agent Billy Baker. Allen, of 80 Vaughn St., Coffeeville, and Griffin were arrested at separate locations in Grenada on Tuesday, November 16, according to Yalobusha County Sheriff Lance Humphreys.

“Griffin, Allen and their associates operating primarily in Batesville, West Point, Tupelo, Coffeeville and other cities within Mississippi,” according to the MBN affidavit. “Griffin obtains the cocaine and marijuana in Texas, reportedly from a Mexican source, and is responsible for trafficking the cocaine and marijuana into Mississippi,” the document alleges.

The Batesville Police Department’s Special Operations Division participated in the investigation along with the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department, the Water Valley, Coffeeville and Oakland Police Departments, the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, MBN, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to information provided through MBN.

“Through the investigation, agents have learned that Griffin organized and leads the organization’s cocaine, marijuana and money laundering activities,” the affidavit alleges.

The arrests come after the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the United State Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “have been investigating a large-scale cocaine and marijuana distribution organization led by Griffin and Allen,” according to the Nov. 12 affidavit filed in federal court.

Batesville Special Operations officers said the investigation started more than a year ago. The Yalobusha County Sheriff said his department and the Coffeeville Police Department became involved in the investigation several months ago, after a house on County Road 227, outside

Coffeeville, was identified as a stash house used by Allen and Griffin.

“Allen is from Coffeeville, and it appears that he moved from Batesville back here around July,” Humphreys explained.

Griffin allegedly organized and led the organization’s cocaine and marijuana

and money laundering operation, according to court documents. He would

obtain the drugs in Texas, reportedly from a Mexican source, and bring it to

Mississippi using carriers.

The organization was responsible for transporting and distributing approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine and in excess of 500 pounds of marijuana into the state each month, according to a press release from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

Arrests were made in different locations across Mississippi. Charges range from simple possession to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana to a felon possessing a firearm, as well as federal charges, according to a press release from the Mississippi Department of Safety.

The arrests come after the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the United State Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “have been investigating a large-scale cocaine and marijuana distribution organization led by Griffin and Allen,” according to the Nov. 12 affidavit filed in federal court.

Other arrests include:

Shalise Ewing, L.C. Ewing, Tomisha Latric Ford, Corey Allen Shelton, Linda B. Montgomery, all of Tupelo; Jethro Brown, Crystal Mosley, Lashan Ausmer, Jerry Robinson, Randall Galloway and Avana Hawthorne, no address listed; Jamie Bean, Pheba; Derick Patrick, Houston, Miss.; Undrake Lane, Ronnie Bennett and Terry Eving, West Point; Michael Coats, Louisville;  Jeremiah Starks, Mantee; and Roy Dale Ross and Staci Wakia Moore, both of Shannon.


Visitor Comments
 
Submitted By: Submitted: 12/5/2010
Don't see Sheriff Dept. anywhere.


Submitted By: Submitted: 11/29/2010
What no panola COUNTY narcotic task force??? Wonder Why???




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