Archived Story

Drug bust nets 15 of 30 suspects sought during pre-dawn raid

Published 8:41pm Friday, September 19, 2008

Three months of investigative work came down to one early morning raid to round up suspected drug dealers. Picayune police officers were after 30 suspected drug dealers in Thursday’s pre-dawn hours.

The early morning operation, called “Operation early morning wake up,” netted about half of the suspects, but two of the department’s most wanted are still at large.

Those two suspects are alleged to have been selling prescription medication and marijuana to school children between the ages of 12 to 15 as the children walked to a school near the suspects’ home, said Chief Investigator Holly Krantz.

“When individuals sell drugs to our children, we take that very personally,” said Police Chief Jim Luke.

The two suspects allegedly involved in selling drugs to the school children are identified as Stephanie Travis, 29, and Raymond Cooper, 27. Both had a last known address of 1218 Manning St., Picayune, but are believed to have left the area during the night, possibly heading to Harahan, La., Krantz said. Since the investigation is continuing, Krantz could not say why the department believes the suspects are heading to Harahan.

The case was formed against Travis and Cooper when parents and community members made complaints to the department about their suspected activity. Investigators were able to make about four purchases from Cooper and Travis to establish a case against the two, Krantz said.

Most of the other charges against the remaining suspects also came from the alleged sale of narcotics such as marijuana, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy, Krantz said. The presence of ecstasy in the city has increased recently, becoming popular with adults in their early 20s.

Since the operation began in the early morning hours Thursday, many suspects were taken into custody in their undergarments, making for some disgruntled arrestees.

“We pulled them all out of their bed where we woke them up,” Krantz said.

This kind of early morning operation is safer for all involved. Suspects are more likely to be asleep and home. Their dormant state makes taking them into custody safer for law enforcement, Luke said.

One suspect used profanity to express his discontent with being escorted into the jail before dawn in nothing more than boxer shorts, going so far as to curse at Chief Luke who greeted him at the door to the city jail.

Other suspects expressed their innocence at the charges placed against them. As 52 year-old Patricia Durapau was placed in handcuffs and escorted to the road from her travel trailer parked in front of a dilapidated house, she repeatedly told investigators that she didn’t sell drugs. She did have a suggestion for the investigators to help with the drug problem in the city, however.

“Ya’ll need to stop those people from coming over here buying drugs,” Durapau said.

She then again claimed her innocence of the trafficking charges against her as she was escorted to a waiting patrol car, screaming that she was barely able to get out of jail the last time she was arrested. Police records show she was charged about a month ago for conspiracy to sell a controlled substance. Thursday morning Durapau, of 201 Airport Rd., was charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church.

The fact that the department deals with repeat offenders is disappointing, Luke said. However he said the department will continue to press charges on alleged drug dealers and allow the court system to decide their fate.

Suspects picked up during the operation include Bryan Guilott, 24, of 313 N. Beech St., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Gary Jolly, 33, of 134 Greenview Dr., charged with conspiracy to sell a controlled substance and two counts of sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Len Bonner Jones, 23, of 1918 Palestine Rd., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Robert “Trey” Lunsford, 25, of 123 Williamsburg Rd., charged with two counts of sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church and two counts of conspiracy to sell a controlled substance; Philon McKensie, 25, 603 Charlotte Dr., charged with conspiracy to sell a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; Demethia Hardaway Plummer, 47, of 1111 Martin Luther King Blvd., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Carol Leigh Stockstill, 33, 1819 Johnny K. St., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Sean Burnett, 26, of 2706 Victoria Dr., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Louis Miller, 60, of 719 Cayten St., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Claretta McDonald, 53, of 104 N. Green Ave., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Jason Pittman, 26, of 925 Besty Dr., charged with sale of a controlled substance; Fred Johnson, 53, of 504 N. Blanks Ave., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church; Darren Champagne, 22, of 125 Evans Rd., Poplarville, charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church, and Dustin Roy Jacobsen, 23, of 2604 Jackson Landing Rd., charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church.

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