Drug task force active in eight counties

Published 11:15 am Friday, March 21, 2014

032114-drug-bust-js18032114-drug-bust-js10

A Claiborne County man accused of having nearly a pound of marijuana and two guns was held without bail this morning.
Robert Franklin Jr., 32., who lives on Northside Drive of U.S. 61 in Port Gibson, was arrested by agents from the North Central Mississippi Drug Task Force at about 3 a.m. Thursday and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute while in possession of a weapon.
“We had been investigating him for the past four to six months,” said a task force agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he works undercover.
Inside Franklin’s home, task force members seized 351 grams — 12.3 ounces — of marijuana, a .22-caliber rifle, a .22-caliber pistol, three sets of digital scales and $715 believed to be drug money, the agent said.
Franklin was held without bail this morning in the Claiborne County Jail awaiting his initial court appearance scheduled for today, Sheriff Marvin Lucas said.
“It was very helpful to have them come in and help us clean up our county and close these illegal drug stores,” Lucas said.
North Central Mississippi Drug Task Force covers an eight-county area from Leflore to Jefferson counties investigating narcotics cases and serving as a special response team. The task force began in 1985 but disbanded in 2008 before returning around 2010.
The agency primarily focuses on rural counties where police and sheriff’s departments might not have enough manpower to staff a full narcotics division.
In addition to full-time agents, the task force is supplemented by sheriff’s deputies from the eight-county area.