Suspect calls law enforcement officer to purchase drugs
Messages received on cell phones seen by law enforcement officers led to the arrest of several suspects for drug related charges in two separate cases.
One of the cases worked by the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department involved an officer receiving an unsolicited call on Sept. 20 from an unknown man looking to buy a quarter pound of marijuana, Pearl River County Sherriff David Allison said.
The officer asked the unidentified man to call back the following day so they could work out the details. On Sept. 21 the suspect called back, again requesting a quarter pound of marijuana, Allison said.
At that point the investigator and the suspect began sending text messages back and forth and finally agreed to meet on Sept. 23 at a gravel parking lot east of Interstate 59 near Lumberton, Allison said.
Officers arrived at the area and a short time later a green Nissan Altima pulled up beside the unmarked vehicle, Allison said.
As the officers stepped out of their vehicle, wearing identifying vests and badges and identifying themselves as law enforcement, the vehicle sped off down Highway 13, Allison said.
Officers gave chase and observed the vehicle narrowly miss several other vehicles traveling along the road; one of which had to pull off the road to avoid a head-on collision, Allison said.
At some point during the pursuit the driver lost control of the vehicle and struck the side of a public housing residence in Lamar County, Allison said.
After the collision the driver, later identified as 24-year-old Christopher Bass of 56 Lazy B Rd., Lumberton, and the passenger, 24-year-old Marcus A. Creel of 10 Cynthia Lane, Lumberton, both fled on foot, Allison said.
Bass was taken into custody a short time later, and charged with conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, Allison said.
Creel initially got away from law enforcement, but later turned himself in and was subsequently charged with conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Allison said no one was injured in the accident and only minor damage occurred to the home.
In a separate case that began on Sept. 16 detectives on patrol conducted a stop on a vehicle for improper equipment on Memorial Boulevard in Picayune, said Allison.
During that stop they came into contact with the driver, 21-year-old Brooke N. Bennett of 134 Lakeview Dr., who was found to be in possession of a schedule III narcotic, Allison said.
A passenger in the vehicle, 43-year-old Larry Frank Hyatt, of 7 Leo Eaves Rd., was also found to possess a schedule III controlled substance, Allison said.
As the officers spoke with Bennett her cell phone began to ring. Allison said the officers requested consent to search her cell phone, which she granted.
As the officers were looking through her phone, Bennett received a message from a man named Ray who asked if she was still going to meet him at a nearby gas station, Allison said.
After obtaining information about the man’s vehicle, investigators headed to the meet point where they came into contact with 36-year-old Raymond J. Grabert III of 801 Lake Arthur Court, Slidell, La., who was found to be in possession of synthetic marijuana, leading him to be charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and conspiracy to transfer a controlled substance.
Allison said Hyatt was charged with possession of a schedule III controlled substance, while Bennett was charged with possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy to transfer a schedule III controlled substance.