Drug Bust

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Drug bust leads authorities to more at Louisiana home

By Rupert Howell

A local marijuana bust by the Panola County Drug Task Force led to the confiscation of over 80 pounds of allegedly hydroponically grown marijuana  as well as $35,000 in cash according to Task Force Commander Mark Whitten with the Panola County Sheriff’s office.

Batesville’s special ops unit assisted according to Whitten.

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Whitten said Monday that the “take down” occurred in a parking lot in Batesville near I-55 on October 13 where two pounds were taken from Danny H. Le of Auburn, Washington.

The task force commander explained the arrest followed an investigation and arrest of a suspect whose cellphone was “blowing up.”

Whitten stated that agents found out who was making the calls and convinced the suspect to make a buy. A deal was struck and agents showed up instead of the new suspects.

It was two females who made delivery and after questioning, local agents learned that an Asian named Danny had given the marijuana to the females to sell and test the market.

Whitten said approximately one-half pound was obtained from the women, but agents got one of them to place another order for more.

Le showed up in the local parking lot and one of the females previously arrested introduced him to one of Panola’s agents who was acting as buyer. Le then pulled a bag from his trunk which contained two pounds of marijuana just prior to other agents pulling up to assist with the arrest.

A companion in Le’s car revealed that an attempt was being made to “set up shop in North Mississippi,” according to Whitten who explained that it was learned that Le came from the Gretna, Louisiana area and that there was more at his residence.

Whitten said that agent Terry Smith contacted Gretna narcotics and based on information there and the Panola County investigation, a warrant was obtained to search Le’s residence where 17 pounds were found with another suspect “rolling” there leading to an additional 60 pounds being found at another residence.

Whitten explained that it appears hydroponically grown marijuana is coming from the Northern California and Washington area and surmised that it has a stronger effect than conventionally grown pot.

Incidentally, Le had a medical marijuana card in his possession when apprehended. He is charged locally with conspiracy, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.