By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Four cases handled by Picayune Police Department officers led to the arrest of four suspects on drug related charges.
The first case occurred on Tuesday, Nov. 27, when an officer on patrol noticed a vehicle traveling south on Blanks Avenue cross the center line and fail to use a turn signal as it turned onto Warren Street, said Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri.
The officer stopped the vehicle and came into contact with the driver, 20-year-old Michael Lewis of 3610 Baron Town Road, Hattiesburg. A check of Lewis’ driver’s license found it had been suspended for failure to pay fines, prompting the officer to take him into custody for the driving violation, Magri said. A pat down of Lewis was conducted during which the officer found a bag of a green leafy substance in his pocket believed to be marijuana, Magri said.
The officer then asked Lewis if there were any other illegal items in his vehicle, to which Lewis admitted there was more marijuana in the vehicle and a shotgun in the trunk, Magri said. A search of the vehicle located nine more bags of marijuana in the center console and the shotgun in the trunk of the vehicle, Magri said.
Lewis was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, careless driving and driving with a suspended license and the shotgun was logged into evidence as personal property, Magri said.
On Monday, Dec. 3, officers with the department received a call about a suspected fraudulent prescription being submitted to a local pharmacy, Magri said. He said the complainant said the prescription looked as though it had been altered. A call to the doctor’s office that issued the prescription confirmed the prescription had been changed from 5 milligram doses of Lortab to 10 milligram doses of the drug, Magri said.
When the suspect, 21-year-old Whitney Penton of 1116 York St., returned to the pharmacy to pick up the drugs, the officer spoke with her about the apparently change to the prescription, Magri said. Through the investigation it was determined that Penton had changed the prescription, leading to her being charged with fraudulent acquisition of a controlled substance, Magri said.
On Thursday, Nov. 29, officers with the department responded to a domestic dispute call and arrived to meet with 42-year-old Shawn Streza of 1902 U.S. Highway 11 North, Magri said. Officers were advised by a witness at the scene that Streza had hidden some items under a nearby bush, Magri said. He said the officer searched that area and found four syringes and two spoons. One of the spoons had a blue residue on it and one of the syringes contained a clear liquid that was sent off to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations crime lab for testing, Magri said.
Streza was charged with possession of paraphernalia and could face additional charges, pending the results of the crime lab analysis, Magri said.
Also on Nov. 29, officers on patrol stopped a suspicious vehicle to find the driver had a suspended driver’s license, Magri said. Consent to search the vehicle was granted during the stop and the officer found an open beer in the passenger seat where 32-year-old Brian S. Kennedy of 1637 U.S. Hwy. 11S was sitting, Magri said. A search of Kennedy also uncovered a spoon with a burnt residue on it and a syringe in his pocket, leading to him being charged with open beer, possession of paraphernalia and a hold was placed on him with the Mississippi Department of Corrections for probation violation, Magri said. The driver was cited for driving while license suspended and the vehicle was released to a relative on scene, Magri said.