Natchez, Louisiana parish cut deal to fight drugs

Published 12:37 am Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Mississippi River is no longer a barrier to law enforcement officers chasing drugs suspects between Adams County and Concordia Parish, La.

About 75 miles north, the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and Louisiana authorities already had an agreement, Sheriff Martin Pace said.

“We work with Madison Parish and Louisiana State Police on a regular basis,” Pace said. “We do it while respecting state boundaries. If an arrest is made in Louisiana, it is their arrest.”

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In Natchez, the two governments this past week agreed that officers from each state can now work narcotics cases on both sides of the river without regard to state boundaries.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield and Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell swore in the officers who were assigned to the team — five from the Natchez-Adams Metro Narcotics Unit and four from the Concordia Parish Narcotics Task Force.

Maxwell said those who commit crimes often take their activities across multiple parish and county lines. He said investigations can run more efficiently when officers can operate on both sides of the river.

He said state lines will no longer provide a jurisdictional loophole for criminals who see the state line as a “crutch” to help them elude the law.

“This is making what’s already happening more formal,” Maxwell said.

Mayfield said the action means Mississippi and Louisiana officers can share resources and information. When drug arrests are made, narcotics officers from both areas can often benefit by retrieving information from the suspect about other investigations, he said.

“When working on a case, it moves so fast, and you can’t always (have time to) ask permission, or make calls,” Maxwell said.