School employee, barber arrested for drug sale offenses
Published 7:00 am Friday, January 27, 2017
The Picayune Police Department conducted five separate undercover narcotics operations between Jan. 12 and 19 as part of ongoing efforts by Picayune Police Chief Bryan Dawsey to remove drugs from the streets of Picayune, Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri said.
On. Jan 19 at 4:32 p.m., undercover narcotics detectives were informed of a potential narcotics transaction at a local hardware store, a departmental press release states.
Detectives set up surveillance on the building, where they observed the suspect, identified as Ramona Ellen Bennett, 49, of 41 Mississippi Pines Blvd. #93, arrive in a black 2014 Nissan Sentra and engage in an alleged hand-to-hand transaction between Bennett and an undercover officer, the release states.
Bennett, who listed her employer as the Lumberton School District during booking, was arrested for sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church, according to Picayune Police Department arrest reports.
Upon her arrest, 20 Norco pills, a schedule II narcotic, were recovered along with $300 in cash, the release states.
In a second investigation that took place on Jan. 12 at 4:40 p.m., undercover narcotics detectives were informed about alleged drug activity at Lawrence’s Barber Shop on Highway 11 South, the release states.
Detectives surveilled the business while an undercover officer made contact with the suspect, identified as Lawrence N. Coig, III, 55, of 42 Openwood Drive West, Carriere, according to the release.
During the operation, the undercover detective, under the guise of receiving a haircut, approached Coig to purchase four, 10 milligram Norco for $200. After the transaction was complete, officers made contact with Coig inside the business where they located a .40 caliber handgun within Coig’s reach, the release states.
Coig was arrested for sale of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church while in possession of a firearm, according to the release.
During a separate investigation, narcotics detectives were informed about a possible heroin transaction at a local motel on Jan. 17 around 2:30 p.m., a departmental release states.
The suspects, identified as David Ryan Endicott, 34, of 999 Cooper Road, and Daisy Lynn Ellis, 32, of 132 Washington St., Carriere, met with an undercover detective to conduct the transaction, the release states.
Endicott and Ellis were unable to secure the heroin to make the sale, after which detectives arrested the suspects for conspiracy to sell a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church, according to the release.
A fourth arrest was made on Jan. 12 at 1:12 p.m., when undercover narcotics detectives were informed about the potential for a Xanax transaction at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a departmental press release states.
An undercover officer engaged in the sale of 20 gel capsules of what was believed to be Xanax, a schedule IV narcotic, for $10 a piece, according to the release.
At that time, the suspect, identified as Thomas J. Crawford, 29, of Robert Road, was arrested for sale of a controlled substance.
While conducting a search of Crawford’s person, detectives located an additional 69 gel capsules in a backpack, the release states.
Crawford was additionally charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Investigative techniques later confirmed that Crawford was selling counterfeit pills, which actually contained the controlled substance Lithium, Magri said.
During a fifth investigation, narcotics detectives seized three pounds of high-grade marijuana during an undercover operation.
On Jan. 17 at 7:18 p.m., detectives conducted surveillance on two people at a local hardware store due to suspected drug activity. The suspects, later identified as William Rashad Towner, 21, of 2708 East George St., Gulfport and Phung Angelica Ngo, 18, of 345 Bowen St., Biloxi, were observed entering the parking lot in a white Mustang, the release states.
Detectives made contact with the suspects and asked to exit the vehicle. Upon searching the vehicle, detectives located a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, according to the release.
Towner and Ngo were arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1,500 feet of a school or church and conspiracy to sell a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school or church, the release states.