On May 20, after nearly a two year investigation, law enforcement had enough evidence to drop the hammer on a large methamphetamine inquiry.
“We identified several targets, who were coming and receiving drugs, we made traffic stops and caught them with the dope,” said undercover agent Ron Leibman (not his real name). “We start surveillance, work the case — we have to line everything up. We don’t have a set time, we just wait until we have the best opportunity to get the most narcotics off the street.”
The search warrant was dropped in Monroe County. The warrant led to over twenty-three pounds of meth, eight firearms and eight vehicles.
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks.
“Anytime you knock down roughly 23 pounds of methamphetamine — that is a huge amount of dope for this area,” Leibman said. “At the end of the day that’s going to trickle down, because he was supplying so many people in so many different counties.”
The three who were arrested are John Edward Blankenship, Francesca Nichole Gable and Watavius Cortez Williams.
“Through the arrests we get, more arrests will come from that. This is just the start of it,” Leibman said. “These are like the main players.”
This was a massive probe involving the North Mississippi Narcotics Unit (NMNU), Tupelo Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Department (LCSD), Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department, Fulton Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Amory Police Department, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department.
“Anytime you have one goal - the more people, who are trying to obtain that goal, the easier it is to reach it,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson. “Before we were members of North Mississippi Narcotics - Lee County was on an island by itself. These drug dealers, pushers and all — they don’t play municipal lines or county lines or even state lines.”
Blankenship, 40, was charged with aggravated trafficking of methamphetamine; Gable, 34, with trafficking of methamphetamine and Williams, 39, also with aggravated trafficking of methamphetamine.
This investigation continues and more arrests are expected. Many of the smaller players are still out there, with no product and really no way to move on.
“It’s hard just to pick up and move, when you’re in the drug community, to go to a totally different place and start over,” Leibman added. “We don’t see a lot of that. They will skip out for awhile but eventually they’ll be back.”
Other common street names for methamphetamine include blue, crystal, ice, meth, and speed.
If you have any information related to this case, please call the NMNU (662) 844-4261 or the LCSD (662) 841-9040.