By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
A traffic stop led to charges being pressed against two suspects, while a community compliant led narcotics detectives to a person who had been suspected of selling methamphetamine near his workplace.
Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri said the first case began on Nov. 16, after a community compliant alleged a vehicle was headed into Picayune along Interstate 59 carrying contraband.
Detectives set up along the interstate and spotted the suspect vehicle heading north, at which time a traffic stop was conducted. Magri said the occupants of the vehicle, 40-year-old Deborah Huff of 25005 Pinecrest Dr., and 21-year-old Chasitea Perniciaro of 7067 Road 137, Bay St. Louis were asked about the complaint.
During questioning Huff admitted to carrying a controlled substance, but said it was synthetic marijuana, which was in her purse, Magri said. Consent to search the vehicle and its occupants was granted and the detective found the synthetic marijuana in Huff’s purse, Magri said. Further search of the vehicle uncovered two hand rolled cigarettes believed to contain synthetic marijuana, a bottle of rum, a baggy containing five crack rocks and a baggy with several Xanax bars, Magri said.
Huff was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of synthetic marijuana, possession of bonded whiskey and a seat belt violation, while Perniciaro was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, Magri said.
The next case began on Nov. 20, Magri said, as a complaint that 22-year-old Roy McClure of 144 Pinecrest Dr., Poplarville, was selling methamphetamine near a local grocery store where he was employed. Magri said as detectives talked to him about the allegation he became visibly nervous but agreed to a search of his person. In that search, the detectives found two baggies in his pockets containing methamphetamine, and he was charged with possession of methamphetamine, Magri said.
Continued investigation into the case determined McClure was getting the methamphetamine by trading boxes of pseudoephedrine to 40-year-old James Smith of 1214 Ridgewood Lane, Magri said. A trade bust was set up when detectives contacted Smith and set up a meeting at the grocery store on that same day, Magri said.
Smith was asked to meet McClure at the grocery store to make the trade and detectives set up perimeters around the location, Magri said. He said when Smith arrived, the detectives watched until it appeared McClure had made the transaction, utilizing marked boxes of the cold medication. The detectives moved in and attempted to take Smith into custody, but he tried to flee, unsuccessfully, Magri said.
After Smith was stopped and taken into custody, a search of his vehicle and person found no methamphetamine, but the detectives had enough evidence to charge him with conspiracy to possess a controlled substance, Magri said.
While booking Smith his cell phone was confiscated, Magri said. While the cell phone was in police custody, Magri said a text message came through asking if Smith wanted to trade methamphetamine for marijuana. Magri said the detectives used Smith’s cell phone to set up a meeting time and location. Magri said when the suspects arrived they appeared shocked to find detectives waiting for them.
Detectives then approached the vehicle and found 30-year-old Lettie Matherne of 9511 U.S. Highway 11 North, Poplarville and 32-year-old Misty Stevens of 54 Holcolmb Carroll Rd., Carriere, in the vehicle, Magri said. While speaking with Matherne and Stevens they denied sending texts to Smith’s phone, but through further investigation, the detectives determined Matherne was using Stevens’ cell phone to set up the trade, Magri said.
A bag of a green, leafy looking substance believed to be synthetic marijuana was found on Matherne’s person and investigation into the incident determined Stevens knew about the presence of the controlled substance in her vehicle, Magri said. Stevens was cited for possession of synthetic marijuana and Matherne was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, Magri said.