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Picayune Police Department makes 11 drug sale arrests

Drug dealers are becoming scarce in Picayune as the police department enforces its zero tolerance policy.

On Thursday, the Picayune Police Narcotics Investigation team arrested 11 suspects for sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a church.

Capt. Holly Krantz said there are still about seven warrants to serve from the month long investigation that included undercover buys.

“The 11 individuals suspected of selling drugs in the community will not be selling drugs, thanks to the efforts of Holly Krantz,” said Police Chief Jim Luke. “It’s destroying lives, and we’re going to stand on that blue line and say not in our city. We want Picayune to be known as a drug-free city.”

The drug enforcement operation is continuing with similar operations, Luke said.

“It will continue until we cease the problem as much as we can,” Krantz said.

Since 2003 the police department has made a mark in the community in reference to drug violations, said Deputy Chief David Ervin.

“As long as the Picayune Police Department is arresting drug offenders the three-phase drug offensive will stay in place,” Ervin said.

About 25 to 50 percent of the drug offenders arrested this week were repeat offenders, Deputy Chief Tom Milar said. It will be at the discretion of the municipal court judge whether any suspects can bond out, he said. However, if they are arrested while out on bond, then they will be held in jail until their court date, Ervin said.

The Narcotics Investigation team was notified of the presence of the suspected drug activity by residents of the community, Milar said.

“I know of one neighborhood that was excited about the arrests,” Milar said.

“We want everyone in the community to inform us of any suspicious activity. We’ll address it, and if we find activity we’ll act on it,” Ervin said.

The arrests of these suspects should lead to less crime in the communities in which they live, Milar said. He said the suspects are also believed to have been involved in prostitution, theft and burglaries.

“It’s also breaking up the other criminal element,” Milar said.

Suspects arrested so far include; Lilly Irwin, 54, of 1601 Sixth Ave.; Paula Jenkins, 26, of 1005 Clarenda St.; Leon Jefferson, 22, of 101 Martin St.; Gerod Bickham, 28, of 422 Fannie Ave.; Stephanie Herndon, 35, 120 N. Haugh Ave.; Derrion Pittman, 18, of 1309 Nutter Dr.; Inez Hinton, 40, of 619 Jarrell St.; Wilma Lewis, 45, of 303 Rosa St.; Aaron Brooks, 27, of 805 Lakewood Dr.; Willie Smith, 33, of 515 Maxwell St., and Michael Carraway, 48, of 1111 Baylous St.

All suspects were charged with sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a church.