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Deputies work traffic stop, community complaint

WRONG HANG OUT LOCALE: Deputies arrested a suspect after community complaints were lodged about his being intoxicated at this walking track in McNeill. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

WRONG HANG OUT LOCALE: Deputies arrested a suspect after community complaints were lodged about his being intoxicated at this walking track in McNeill.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

A vehicle stop conducted by Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department officers found evidence of precursor chemicals, while the report of an intoxicated man at a park discovered him to be in felony possession of narcotics.
Sheriff David Allison said the traffic stop took place on Nov. 4, when narcotics investigators on patrol came across a vehicle without a tag light. During the stop the investigators discovered evidence that the driver, identified as 52-year-old LaJaunia Smith, had been purchasing precursor chemicals commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine, Allison said.
During the stop a freight truck, driven by who was later determined to be Smith’s boyfriend, pulled up. Allison said the driver of the truck was identified as 43-year-old Steven Hodge.
Once the investigators determined the two people lived together a search of Hodge’s truck was conducted, in which the investigators found a precursor chemical, Allison said.
Due to those findings a search of the couple’s home was conducted, located at 56 Bonner Lake Rd., Poplarville.
Allison said the investigators found precursor chemicals in the home along with evidence that methamphetamine had been manufactured there. Smith and Hodge were each charged with possession of precursor chemicals and conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance, Allison said.
In a separate case, deputies were sent to the area of the McNeill walking track in response to a community complaint of what appeared to be an intoxicated man loitering under the bridge.
A deputy arrived to find the man had left the area, but continued to patrol the area. Allison said the deputy found the man, later identified as 19-year-old Jonathan Eric Tatum of 401 McNeill Steephollow Rd., Carriere, walking down Library Street. Upon speaking with Tatum the deputy determined him to be intoxicated, Allison said.
When the deputy asked Tatum to walk towards the front of the patrol vehicle, the deputy noticed him throw an item under the cruiser, Allison said.
During a pat down for officer safety, the officer noticed a syringe on the ground near Tatum’s feet. A search of Tatum also located three Oxycodone pills, several pieces of an unknown white substance and a small baggy containing marijuana, Allison said.
Tatum was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, public drunk and possession of paraphernalia, Allison said. The unknown substance was sent to the crime lab for analysis and additional charges may be pressed against Tatum pending those results. Allison said.