Produce stand operator arrested for selling marijuana

Published 6:47 pm Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A small vegetable and fruit stand on U.S. 11 apparently was selling more than just tomatoes, potatoes and peanuts.

Investigators and deputies with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department conducted a drug bust on the small stand, which looked as though it was built with scrap lumber, on U.S. 11 South.

Green tomatoes, raw and boiled peanuts and some red potatoes appeared to be all the produce offered at the stand located between Binderwald Maintenance and Hunt’s Auto Electric on the heavily traveled highway. There was a small patch of what appeared to be tomato and other plants growing adjacent to the stand.

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Numerous tips and community complaints were provided to the department concerning the suspect selling illegal substances at the stand. Investigator Lt. Donnie Saucier said undercover operations and surveillance of the stand lead to the purchase of an ounce of marijuana. The suspect also gave the undercover officer a handful of boiled peanuts with his purchase of the marijuana, Saucier said.

The bust Tuesday lead to the business owner, Robert D. York, 50, being charged with selling drugs.

“We arrived and arrested the suspect without incident,” Saucier said on scene.

Investigators then conducted a search of the van where they found what they believe to be about a half pound of marijuana, Saucier said. As the search continued, investigators asked York where his marijuana scales were. York told the investigators that he only had scales to weigh his produce.

After a search of the van, where York is believed to have been living on the premises, an Investigator found a set of small scales, about $900, what appeared to be another small bag of marijuana and other paraphernalia.

When investigators asked him where he purchased the suspected marijuana from, York told them he was not a “snitch” but he got it from New Orleans.

“I’m not in the big time or nothing. ..,” York said.

York was charged with distribution of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. After the arrest, a sign was left on the stand that read “Closed by PRCSO”.