Text message, drug deal send 3 to jail

Published 1:05 am Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Drug Task Force agent, posing as a dealer via text message, was able to arrest three would-be purchasers Thursday. They, along with four others, face various drug charges.

DTF agent Dave Harrell said the arrests began with a traffic stop in Opp by Officer Shawn Bentley. Bentley, with assistance from Harrell and DTF agent Jessica Lawhorn, stopped Heather Hollomen and Summer Sutley.

Harrell said when law enforcement noticed Sutley’s attempt to place something in her pants, they searched the car and both women.

“Inside the vehicle, we found crack cocaine and on both the subjects we found they were both in possession of smoking devices,” Harrell said.

Harrell said a short time later a text message came through on the phone of one of the suspects.

“It was a text from Cornelius Hill, who said he wanted to purchase some Lortab,” Harrell said. “I texted him back and said, ‘Yeah. I got some to sell.’ So we set up a deal and agreed to meet at the Mizell (Memorial Hospital) parking lot.

“He and two others came with cash in hand to purchase Lortabs from a drug dealer, but when they got there, they found out real quick they’d made a deal with DTF agents,” he said.

Hill, along with Courtney L. Norton-Pantone and Jacob Forbes, were taken into custody and charged with attempted possession of a controlled substance. Pantone was also charged with felony possession of drug paraphernalia, Harrell said.

“Earlier in the day, she’d purchased pseudoephedrine to supply a meth cook,” he said. “And when we arrested her, she was found to be in possession of iodine, which is used in the red phosphorous method of manufacturing methamphetamine.”

Hill and Forbes were booked into the Covington County Jail under a $10,000; Pantone, a $60,000 bond.

The same day, but in an unrelated case, Harrell said DTF agent Greg Jackson arrested a husband and wife at their East Park Avenue home in Opp. Tonya Lynn Sasser, 39, and William B. Sasser, 55, were allegedly in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. The two were booked into the county jail and held on a $13,000 bond.

“You could say it was a busy, but productive day, for us,” Harrell said.