Nine Arrested in West Tennessee "Smurfing" Bust
DOWNTOWN JACKSON -- Nine people were arrested last week after law enforcement agencies from around West Tennessee assembled to conduct a joint operation to address an illegal activity commonly referred to as “smurfing”.
The Jackson-Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit headed the operation with assistance form the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division, the Jackson Police Department’s Street Crimes, Gang Enforcement and K-9 Units, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit, the Crockett County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit, the 24th Judicial Drug Task Force.and the 28th Judicial Drug Task Force.
"It's not just a local problem it's a state wide problem and we've all seen the benefit of combining our resources," said Lt. Marc Byrum., Metro Narcotics Unit. "Operations like these would not be nearly as successful if we tried to do them on our own."
Officials said this operation was performed in cooperation with local pharmacies to target persons purchasing pseudoephedrine products for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.
"There is a term called diversion, it's typically used with prescription medications and it essentially means you are diverting them from their intended use for some other illicit use," said Lt. Byrum. "We stopped some before they ever get to their next opportunity to manufacture a batch. By preventing that process we are preventing everything that goes along with it like damage to the environment when they dispose of their hazardous waste in an improper way or even the potential for one of them to get hurt during the cooking process."
Pseudoephedrine is the primary ingredient in decongestant cold medicines that have to be purchased through a pharmacy and not over-the-counter. Officers said not only is it a felony to use psuedoephedrine to make meth but it is also a crime to recklessly buy the drug for someone else who could turn around and use it in the meth making process.
Throughout this operation, a total of 9 people were arrested and cases were developed on 8 of them for Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture which is a class D felony.
Investigators said In addition to the pseudoephedrine products, amounts of Methamphetamine, Morphine, Cocaine, Synthetic Cannabinoids and Drug Paraphernalia were recovered. The names of those arrested are as follows:
Jennifer Diane Kemp, age 36, of Lavinia was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture.
Christopher Neal Curtwright, age 22, of McKenzie was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Dylan B. Staggs, age 27, of Camden was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
William C. Garner III, age 28, of Jackson was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell or Distribute, Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon, Felony Evading Arrest, Resisting Arrest and Driving on a Suspended Drivers License.
Evan Andrew Walls, age 23, of Jackson was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Violation of the Seatbelt Law.
James J. Foster, age 29, of in Jackson was charged with Promotionof Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Mikel Wayne Pugh, age 43, of Wildersville was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Driving on a Revoked Drivers License 3rd Offense.
Casey Hairrell, age 37, of Jackson was charged with Initiation of Methamphetamine Manufacture and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Lonnie Peoples, age 63, of Milan was charged with Driving on a Revoked Drivers License.
Anyone with additional information about any of these cases or any other drug activity can call the Jackson Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit at 731-424-6485 or CrimeStoppers at 731-424-8477.