Drug Trafficking Organization Members Indicted

From:  News Release   10/27/17   GCN
 
Hattiesburg, Miss – Six people have been charged in a five-count federal indictment with drug trafficking offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze.

The indictment charges Dexter Jones, 42, of Soso, Mississippi, with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distibute methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; John Baxter, 35, of Stockton, California, with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetmine; Darrion Jones, 32, of Laurel, Mississippi, with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; Mitchell Jones, 42, of Soso, Mississippi, with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; Jamie Wheat, 41, of Laurel, Mississippi, with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and John Foster, 41, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

The indictment alleges that beginning in 2015, the defendants conspired with others to possess with intent to distribute narcotic drug controlled substances including methamphetamine and cocaine in the Eastern Division of the Southern District of Mississippi.

“The way to address our drug crisis is to attack the criminal organizations that perpetuate it. I commend our federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for their diligent investigation. We will not stop prosecuting these criminal enterprises until our citizens are safe and our communities are protected,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
"With these arrests, DEA and its state and local law enforcement partners have taken down an organization responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in the state of Mississippi. By removing these violent criminals from the streets, they can no longer threaten the health and safety of our communities. We will continue to work together to target criminal organizations and their assets to ensure that drug traffickers are held responsible for the harm they cause," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam.

“This is another great example of how the efforts of DEA and MBN continue to dismantle drug trafficking organizations within our state,” said MBN Director John M. Dowdy, Jr.

If convicted, the defendants face up to life in prison and fines of up to $10,000,000.

Five of the defendants appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker on October 25, 2017 for initial appearances and arraignments. The remaining defendant, John Baxter, will be arraigned at a later date. A jury trial is scheduled for December 18, 2017, before United States District Judge Keith Starrett in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Lamar County Sheriff’s Department, Jones County Sheriff’s Department, and the Hattiesburg Police Department.

The public is reminded that an indictment is merely an allegation and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.