Cocaine products found in two busts

Published 5:03 pm Friday, April 1, 2011

Two recent traffic stops have resulted in cocaine-related charges against three suspects.

Narcotics detectives stopped a vehicle on Grover Barrett Road driven by 36 year-old Moises Ortiz of Slidell, La., on March 17, said Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Donnie Saucier.

During the stop investigators saw several pieces of a white rock like substance believed to be crack cocaine, Saucier said. After collecting the substance, the investigators did a preliminary field test which determined the presence of cocaine, he said.

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Ortiz was charged with possession of crack cocaine, Saucier said.

Deputy Justin Faia topped a 2001 Ford Expedition driven by 31 year-old Robert Young Jr., of 2948 Oak St., Purvis, in the southbound lane of Interstate 59 near mile marker 31 on March 23, Saucier said.

Saucier said Faia spoke with Young and his passenger, 36 year-old Charlotte Booth of 49 Hillcrest Dr., Apt. 7, Hattiesburg. While speaking with Young, Faia learned he had a suspended driver’s license, Saucier said. The deputy then had his K-9 conduct a free air pass around the outside of the vehicle, during which the canine alerted to the possible presence of narcotics, the chief investigator said.

A search of the vehicle uncovered about 26 grams of cocaine in a compartment under the steering wheel, along with $4,125 in cash in the center console, Saucier said. Street value of the cocaine is estimated to be $1,800, he said.

Both Young and Booth were charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and both the cash and vehicle were seized, the chief investigator said.

Further investigation by narcotics detectives indicates that the cocaine was headed to Pearl River County where it would be redistributed, but that part of the case is still under investigation, Saucier said.