Miss. prison meth ring busted

Published 11:45 pm Saturday, July 8, 2006

Federal prosecutors say five men, identified as members of the Aryan Brotherhood, have been charged with operating a methamphetamine ring that was directed from a Simpson County community work center in Magee.

The investigation started in 2004 when correctional officers heard through telephone monitoring and confidential informants about the ring, Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said Thursday

The scheme lasted for about a year, authorities said.

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Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Stephen Luzinski said several imprisoned members of the white supremacist gang allegedly enlisted the assistance of former inmates and criminal co-conspirators outside of the prison to produce and distribute the drug.

Those arrested were Grady Brown, 36, incarcerated at the Central Mississippi Correctional facility in Pearl; Melanie Minton, 27, of Rankin County; Donald Harris, 28, of Meridian; Eric Pendergrass, 24, of Pearl; and Jessica Wade, 22, of Rankin County.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said they face federal charges of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute meth and possession with intent to manufacture meth.

Brown would arrange for hypophosphorous acid, which can be used to make meth, to be delivered to the work center, where Brown and Harris were assigned, officials said.