Drug Bus

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2011

BPD: drug bust followed 18-month investigation

By John Howell Sr.

Law enforcement officials brought almost 18 months of drug investigation to a climax last week with simultaneous raids at 105 and 108 Goodhaven Road in Batesville.

Batesville Police Department Special Operations Division Commander Jamie Tedford said that three people were arrested at the homes as 18 officers in two teams burst through the doors around 10 p.m. Thursday night, April 7.

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At 108 Goodhaven, Chris Kendrelle Smith, 24 and Tanzania Bobo, 23, were charged with possession of over 250 grams of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to distribute, a firearms violation and child endangerment, Tedford said.

Children ages three, five and six were in the home when the officers entered, according to the officer. Bobo is the children’s mother, according to officers. They were turned over to the Department of Human Services, Tedford said.

At 105 Goodhaven, officers arrested Lakeshia Williams. She is charged with possession of more than 30 grams but less than 250 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute, a firearms violation and child endangerment, Tedford said.

Goodhaven is a dead-end street near the Tallahatchie River in Riverdale Subdivision off Hoskins Road.

Officers from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Mississippi National Guard’s Counter Drug Task Force Recon Team joined Batesville officers to make the arrests. In the Smith home, officers found three-fourths pound of marijuana, a firearm, two large sets of scales and a large sum of currency, according to officers.

At the Williams home the search yielded cocaine, marijuana and four firearms, Tedford said.

Tedford said that the investigation grew from “taking complaints … from neighbors, gathering intelligence and working with other agencies.”

Information gathered during the multi-state drug investigation last year that culminated with the arrest of Alonzo Griffin was also utilized in the investigation on Goodhaven Road.

“I want the citizens of Batesville to know we will not tolerate any drugs; we’re working with any agency we can to get these drugs,” said Police Chief Tony Jones, who, along with Deputy Chief Don Province, joined Tedford in announcing the arrests. “We’re working with the Panola County Sheriff’s Department task force,” he added.

Jones said that into neighborhoods with drugs come guns, burglaries and deterioration in housing.

The police chief said that neighborhood cooperation is the key to curbing drug sales and abuse.

“We need their cooperation; we need their calls if they’re serious about cleaning up their neighborhood,” Jones continued. “They may not see immediate results; it takes awhile. … Tag numbers are important; if they know people, that’s important,” the police chief continued. He said that any caller who provides information about illegal drug traffic does not have to give his or her identity.

Tedford said that the investigation that led to last week’s arrests involved “hundreds and hundreds of hours” by investigators.

“My goal … is to take down every drug dealer in the city limits of Batesville,” Tedford said.