Picayune police make more drug arrests

Published 2:32 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Four incidents worked by Picayune Police Department investigators uncovered precursor chemicals, crack cocaine, marijuana and prescription medication.

Arrests made in the four incidents are part of a continuing effort to rid the streets of illegal narcotics, said Public Information Officer Capt. Theresa Milar.

An alleged attempt to purchase precursor chemicals at a local business for use in the manufacture of methamphetamine was foiled when an informant contacted the department on Oct. 8. Milar said after the department received the call, investigators went to Wal-Mart where the suspects were said to be purchasing a number of suspicious items.

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When investigators arrived at the store, they were informed the suspects had already left but a female still in the store was acting suspiciously. The female suspect was identified as 48 year-old Sonia M. Buckman, who was seen leaving in a gold Honda. Investigators conducted a traffic stop on the car and also found 51 year-old John A. Rhode in the car, Milar said.

Also in the car, investigators found an open box of Sudafed on the floorboard and other items, Milar said. The report lists double A lithium batteries and two separate purchases of Sudafed pills, one set in a Walgreens bag and the other in a Wal-Mart bag. The items were collected as evidence.

Buckman, of 107403 Fourth Ave., Gulfport, and Rhode, of 20524 Road 258, were both charged with possession of precursor chemicals and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, the report states.

Another case started as an investigation of a car displaying an out-of-state tag. Milar said the investigator recognized the suspect driving the car as James Jared Dickerson, 30, of 617 Carter St., from a previous case. The investigator had information that the suspect no longer lived in the state displayed on the tag. As the investigator approached the car to speak with Dickerson, he saw Dickerson put his hands in his pants, but when questioned about the action, Dickerson denied it. The smell of burnt marijuana was detected by the investigator, so the investigator asked Dickerson to get out of the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle did not uncover any marijuana, Milar said. As the search continued, the investigator found some pills next to where Dickerson was standing beside the car. The pills were collected and the investigator asked Dickerson if he had any other narcotics on him, to which Dickerson said he had some marijuana in his buttocks.

Dickerson was taken into custody and searched at the Criminal Justice Center where the marijuana was recovered from Dickerson’s buttocks, Milar said. Dickerson was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance (Percocet) and possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle.

In another investigation, officers conducting surveillance at the Picayune Inn on Cooper Road overheard a conversation in which 37 year -old Melinda East said a delivery of narcotics was on its way to a room at the Inn.

The investigator went to the motel’s office to inquire about the occupant of room 217, where East had indicated the delivery would take place. He was told that room 217 was not supposed to be occupied, Milar said. Thinking the room mentioned in the overheard conversation was named in error, the investigator knocked on the door of room 216. An occupant opened the door holding what was believed to be a crack pipe. Two suspects were in room 216 at the time, Billy Harrington, 53, and Latitia Jones, 48. Harrington and Jones, who both listed room 216 as their address, were charged with possession of paraphernalia.

When East was not found in room 216, the investigator then tried room 217 where 36 year-old Chad Blocker answered. Blocker, along with two other suspects, East and 28 year-old Matthew Lee. The three were secured since they was not supposed to be in the room. East, of 707 S. Haugh Ave. and Blocker, of 108 Marsh St., were both charged with two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. Lee, of 32 Quail Court, was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.

Investigators patrolling the city limits on Oct. 3, saw a green pickup truck without a tag. They saw the vehicle pull to the side of the 700 block of West Canal Street, and so the investigators pulled their patrol vehicle over a couple cars down from the parked pickup, Milar said. The suspects in the vehicle were acting rather nervous and investigators could smell burnt marijuana in the area of the vehicle. They approached and confirmed the vehicle was the source of the smell.

The suspects appeared to attempt to hide something as the investigators approached, Milar said. Investigators asked the suspects to step out of the vehicle at which point investigators saw a large bulge protruding from a suspect’s pocket. When asked about the bulge, the suspect, identified as Lavon Smith, 29, of 405 Rayburn Rd., Carriere, said it was a B.C. powder packet. The investigator knew the bulge to be larger than the item described and retrieved the packet from Smith’s pocket, finding some pills inside the B.C. powder packet, Milar said.

The passenger, identified as Jill N. Miller, 30, of 108 Fred Strain Rd., Carriere, also was searched to ensure the safety of the officers, Milar said. A small amount of marijuana was found in Miller’s purse. Investigators found a burnt hand-rolled cigarette believed to contain marijuana in the ashtray of the vehicle.

Smith was charged with possession of a controlled substance and Miller was charged with possession of marijuana, the report states.