By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Officers with the Picayune Police Department investigated a number of cases that led to drug charges being filed.
Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri said the first case began on Jan. 31, when officers were sent to the parking lot of Wal-Mart in reference to a community complaint of a suspicious person sitting in his vehicle apparently injecting himself with an unknown substance.
Officers responded to the scene, but the suspect vehicle had already pulled out of the parking lot and was heading west on Memorial Boulevard. Magri said the officer turned around and caught up with the vehicle the suspect was driving and conducted a stop at the intersection of U.S. Highway 11 and Bruce Street.
The officer asked the driver, 36-year-old Christopher Wilson of 12 Charles Kellar Rd., to get out the vehicle and then spoke with him. Magri said as the officer spoke with Wilson, he could see blue pills under Wilson’s tongue, prompting the officer to ask him to spit them out. Magri said Wilson refused and swallowed the pills during a struggle with the officer.
Wilson was then placed into custody for resisting arrest by fighting and obstruction of evidence collection, Magri said. An inventory was taken of Wilson’s vehicle where the officer found an open beer, a used syringe and a metal spoon with burnt blue residue on it that was later identified to be from a Roxycodone, Magri said.
The evidence found in the vehicle led Wilson to be charged additionally with possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and open beer, Magri said.
Also on Jan. 31, an officer on patrol saw a vehicle driving recklessly on Fourth Street, prompting a traffic stop, Magri said. He said during the stop the officer came into contact with the driver, 32-year-old Clarence Ratcliff of 1214 Baylous St., and his two occupants, 35-year-old Jamel Ratcliff of 418 Weems St., and 25-year-old Brandon Jones of 521 Third St.
As the officer spoke with Clarence Ratcliff, he noticed the man appeared to be nervous as the officer asked for consent to search the vehicle, Magri said. He said after consent to search the vehicle was granted, the officer found a cigar containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in a common area of the vehicle. No one claimed ownership of the cigar, so all three were taken into custody and charged with possession of a controlled substance, Magri said.
Magri said when the officer was placing the suspects in a transport vehicle, he noticed a bag of what appeared to be marijuana on the ground near the patrol vehicle. The officer asked the men who the bag belonged to, and Jones claimed ownership, leading to him being charged with a second count of possession of a controlled substance, Magri said.
Another traffic stop that led to the discovery of prescription medication without a prescription occurred on Feb. 1, where an officer saw a seatbelt violation, Magri said. He said the officer came into contact with 27-year-old Jessica Sharp of 150 Binson Rd., McNeill who appeared to be nervous. During a check of her driver’s license and insurance information, the officer noticed the vehicle she was driving was registered under a previous owner’s name, Magri said.
Because Sharp appeared nervous during the stop, the officer asked if she had any illegal substances in the vehicle, which she initially denied, Magri said. Upon further questioning, she admitted to having a couple of Hydrocodone pills in her possession, leading her to being charged with no seatbelt, improper tag, no insurance and possession of a controlled substance, Magri said.
The last stop leading to drug charges being leveled was made on Feb. 1, for speeding along East Canal Street, Magri said. During the stop the officer spoke with the driver, 60-year-old Willie Jones of 200 Bruce St., and noticed that not only did he not have insurance but his driver’s license had been suspended for a DUI conviction, Magri said.
Jones was arrested for speeding, driving while license suspended and no insurance, Magri said. An inventory of his vehicle was conducted in which the officer found a Mason jar containing what appeared to be an intoxicating beverage and also found a hand-rolled cigar containing a green leafy substance, Magri said. He said Jones was charged additionally with possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle and open beer.