Task Force raids three homes, seven arrested

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 5, 2004

More than 20 law enforcement officers, along with two helicopters and a K-9 unit executed search warrants at three locations in Greenville Monday, arresting seven on drug possession charges.

In what officials described as one of its biggest illegal drug eradication efforts, the Second Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, along with more than 20 officers from the Greenville Police Department, the Butler County Sheriff’s Department, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department, the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Department, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Crestview Police Department and RAID, an acronym for the Reconnaissance and Interdiction Detachment of the Alabama Army National Guard Counter Drug Aviation Unit, executed simultaneous search warrants on three separate residences in Greenville.

&uot;Following an ongoing undercover investigation, we executed search warrants at 600 South St., 410 Hicks St. and 232 West Parmer St.,&uot; said Lt. Chris West, commander of the task force, which is assigned to enforce illegal drug laws in Butler, Crenshaw and Lowndes counties. &uot;This was a cooperative effort by several agencies, and we would not have been able to perform it safely and effectively without everyone working together in a unified approach.&uot;

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At the residence on South Street, three suspects were taken into custody, along with illegal drugs and U.S. currency.

&uot;On South Street, we searched a home owned by Willie J. Mack,&uot; said DTF Agent Kenny Parker. &uot;At that location we arrested Steven Powell, a 31-year-old black male, charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, first degree. He was charged with felony possession because the marijuana we found him to be in possession of was individually packaged for sale.

&uot;We also arrested Terrell Wayne Haddox, a 36-year-old white male of Montgomery, charging him with unlawful possession of marijuana, first degree, for six bags of marijuana in individual plastic bags (ready for sale), and unlawful possession of a controlled substance-cocaine. He had more than eight broken pieces of crack cocaine in a plastic bag.&uot;

Parker said a third suspect was arrested at that location.

&uot;We also arrested James Floyd Jenkins, a 35-year-old black male, charging him with unlawful possession of a controlled substance-cocaine, for a plastic bag containing approximately 20 rocks of crack cocaine.&uot;

The three were on the front porch of the residence when officers arrived. An undisclosed amount of U.S. currency was seized from the trio, along with a Chevrolet Caprice.

At 410 Hicks Street, agents and officers arrested three on drug charges, along with an additional firearm charge for one of them.

&uot;We arrested Willie McCoy, a 52-year-old black male, the occupant of the house, charging him with unlawful possession of marijuana, second degree, for about a half-ounce of marijuana,&uot; said DTF Agent Kelvin Mitchell. &uot;We also arrested Jesse Scott III, a 25-year-old black male of 606 Steele Circle, charging him with unlawful possession of marijuana, first degree, and carrying a pistol without a permit. He had a .45 caliber Ruger semi-automatic handgun, and two bags of marijuana. Additionally, we arrested Eric Burnett, a 21-year-old black male, on a warrant charging failure to appear in court on the charge of unlawful possession of marijuana, second degree.&uot;

At the third location, 232 West Parmer St., one arrest was made.

&uot;We went to the residence of a McCarthy Tyson with a search warrant,&uot; said Mitchell. &uot;When we arrived, he was not there, although several black females were present. Upon searching the females, we found that LaTasha Graham, 22, with a listed address of Perdido, Ala., to be in possession of a bag of marijuana. She was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, second degree.&uot;

All of the suspects were transported to the Butler County Jail and booked on the listed charges.

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, who participated in the raids, said he wants the community to hear a message.

&uot;We just want to send the message that if you are going to sell drugs, you better go somewhere else,&uot; McLendon said. &uot;We have a nice town, and we want to keep it that way. If people are selling drugs we are going to find out about it, and we are going to send them to jail – it’s that simple!&uot;

Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram echoed the sentiments of the mayor.

&uot;We have known about illegal drug activity at these houses for a while, and were just waiting for a good time to hit them,&uot; Ingram said. &uot;I think this got a lot of people’s attention. The word will definitely get out about this. This is something that we want to put a stop to, and I think that this was a good stop.&uot;

Lt. West said many specialized agencies take part to make raids successful.

&uot;We greatly appreciate the assistance we received from the RAID aircraft,&uot; West said. &uot;We asked them to give us aerial support, so that if anyone were to run, we could catch them. We also appreciate Lt. Baker of the Crestview Police Department coming to assist us, along with Lonzo. Many times illegal drugs are hidden from view, and it takes a specially-trained dog to find them.&uot;

Editor’s note: Greenville Advocate Staff Reporter Rick Couch contributed to this report.