Police find narcotics in van

Published 5:30 pm Friday, February 23, 2007

The Picayune Police Department netted three suspects on Tuesday for suspected trafficking of narcotics on the streets of Picayune.

That arrest took a large amount of marijuana off the streets and three suspects into custody.

An officer on patrol observed a 1986 van near the off ramp of Interstate 59 and Memorial Boulevard being operated carelessly, according to a press release from the department. At about 3 p.m., the officer conducted the traffic stop, which lead to a K-9 unit alerting to the possible presence of drugs in the vehicle.

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Officers conducted a search of the vehicle and discovered about eight one-gallon bags of compressed marijuana packed in with rolls of carpet in the cargo section of the vehicle, Deputy Chief David Ervin said. Ervin said he did not want to state an exact weight of the marijuana found in the vehicle because the drug loses weight from drying while it is stored.

The three suspects, Jose Raul Rodriguez, 34, of 56 Liberty Rd., Joel Fialindo Morales, 24, of Mexico and Esiquel Mendoza, 42 also of Mexico, were charged with felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Chief Jim Luke said the suspects said the drugs were intended for the Picayune area.

“So it’s not like it was just passing through,” Luke said.

Estimated street value of the marijuana recovered was about $4,000, the release stated.

“The line has been crossed into our city and the officers of this department acted swiftly to stop the attempted flow of illegal drugs into our community. We have not stopped our Three Phase Drug Offensive; it continues and is on going ” Luke said.