Two sets of arrests

Published 11:46 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Narcotics investigators’ surveillance and a routine traffic stop netted the Picayune Police Department two sets of drug suspects.

The first case began in the evening hours of March 31, when narcotics investigators were supplied with an anonymous tip about a suspect who was allegedly delivering drugs. Deputy Chief David Ervin said the investigators went to the area of Second Street where the suspects were supposed to be.

Investigators observed the suspect, Robert Smith, 28, of 612 Boler St., #4, make several stops and make contact with several people in what appeared to be drug deliveries, Ervin said. After the vehicle made a stop at an address on South Loftin Avenue and left early the next morning on April 1, the investigators conducted a stop on the vehicle. As the stop was being performed, the investigators could see Smith, who was driving the vehicle, throw objects into the back seat of the vehicle, Ervin said.

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Also, as the investigators approached the vehicle they could see Smith and his passenger, later identified as Robert Magee, 28, of 1116 Merrydale Dr., moving around in a nervous manner.

Backup was requested and the investigators asked both Magee and Smith to get out of the vehicle. An empty whiskey bottle and a large amount of crack cocaine was found on the back floorboard of the vehicle, Ervin said. Both Magee and Smith were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1,500 feet of a church.

The second arrest took place on April 21, at about 6:20 p.m. when an officer conducted a stop on a vehicle because the driver was not wearing her seat belt. As the officer approached the vehicle, the smell of burnt marijuana was detected, according to a press release from the department.

A box containing transparent sandwich bags was seen on the rear seat of the vehicle next to a set of digital scales, the release states. The driver, Ashley Bell, 22, of 806 Fourth St., informed the officer that she had a small amount of marijuana in the console of the vehicle. Two bags of what was believed to be marijuana were recovered from the vehicle along with $169 in cash. Bell also told the officer that more marijuana was under the front seat of the vehicle. The officer found a large bag which also contained what is believed to be marijuana. A 1.75 liter bottle of Taaka Vodka, believed to contain vodka, also was found in the vehicle.

Bell was charged with possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute, no seat belt, driving with a suspended license and possession of bonded whiskey, the release states.