Cops from across Southeast visit city for school

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 23, 2009

About 77 law enforcement officials from Florida to Arkansas attended a Specialized Interdiction Seminar Tuesday at Hinds Community College.

The two-day course, offered for the first time in Mississippi, showed new ways drugs are brought into a state by way of hotels and motels, bus stops and bus stations, said Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area training coordinator Chris Hughes.

Instructor Robert Almonte, a retired deputy chief from El Paso, Texas, taught classes in hotel and motel interdiction, an overview of surveillance techniques and room searches; stash-house interdiction, which addresses large amounts of drugs being hidden in houses; storage house interdiction, which focuses on the use of storage units in drug trafficking and methamphetamine labs; and how traffickers relate to the spiritual world.

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Almonte said he hopes the training will enhance safety practices and offer more alternatives of doing their jobs.

“Hopefully, we’ll make Mississippi an undesirable place” for drug traffickers, he said.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said the seminar is not only geared toward narcotics investigators but law enforcement ss a whole.

“The better trained, the better educated the officers are, the better they can serve the community,” Pace said.

During Tuesday’s session, Almonte encouraged officials to do their homework, research and practice before walking into a situation.

Pace and five Warren County deputies attended the seminar. Almonte said he has presented the seminar throughout the continental United States and Hawaii as well as Sweden. He plans to take the program to Alaska next summer.


Contact Tish Butts at