Traffic violations lead to the confiscation of 110 pounds marijuana

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A routine traffic stop lead to the seizure of more than 100 pounds of marijuana and the arrest of one suspect.

The incident took place Monday morning at about 1:19 as two Picayune Police officers were conducting a traffic stop for no seat belt.

That night Officer Joshua English and Officer Justin Faia witnessed a man driving a 2002 Dodge Durango with no seat belt. The officers followed the vehicle until it turned onto North Haugh Avenue, at which time the driver of the vehicle increased his speed to 50 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, English said. The officers turned on their blue lights in an effort to pull the vehicle over, but the suspect ran, eventually ditching the vehicle while it was still in drive, English said. The vehicle ran into another vehicle which was almost pushed into the home where it was parked.

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English said he searched and found the suspect hiding in a home where he had stripped down to his underwear to act as though he had been asleep. However English said he was able to still identify the suspect through an abrasion on the suspect’s leg, believed to have been sustained in the pursuit, and the facial features of the suspect who fled the vehicle. In addition, the clothes officers saw the suspect wearing during the foot pursuit were found in the bedroom of the home.

Picayune Police Public Information Officer Capt. Theresa Milar said the suspect, identified as Kema Dione Keys, 33, 601 N. Buren Ave., was arrested in the vicinity of Fifth Street and Fannie Avenue.

After Keys was taken into custody, officers found 110 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle, English said.

Chief Jim Luke said the suspect has lived in Picayune for some time.

“He’s not new to the community, he’s (a) name we recognize,” Luke said.

Keys was charged with trafficking a controlled substance, seat belt violation, driving in one or more lanes, no turn signal, no insurance, speeding, no driver’s license in possession, running a stop sign, careless driving, reckless driving, failure to yield to blue lights and sirens, resisting arrest by fleeing and felony evasion.

Milar said the estimated street value of the confiscated marijuana is about $66,000.

“We will continue to make it hot for drug dealers and those intent on introducing and selling drugs in our community,” Chief Luke said.