March pot arrests soar

Published 12:02 am Thursday, March 20, 2014

As March draws near a close, law enforcement agencies across Covington County have combined efforts to produce marijuana-related arrests that are nearing the 200 mark, and Sheriff Dennis Meeks says he hopes those numbers are sending a clear message.

“In just the last two weeks, the sheriff’s department and the different municipalities have made over 150 arrests and taken around $100,000 of narcotics off the streets,” Meeks said. “They have done a really good job, and they all deserve a pat on the back.”

Meeks said many suspects have been issued “uniform citations,” while others have bonded out before being transported to the Covington County Jail, but added each stop results in fewer drugs on local streets.

While officers across the county have credited the spring break season with at least a portion of the heavy marijuana traffic, Meeks said the overall total has been reached from arrests of both county residents and individuals traveling to other destinations.

“It’s not that we are picking on out-of-town folks,” Meeks said. “We want them to come through our county. We want them to stop and spend money, but if they bring drugs into our county, they are going to face the consequences. We aren’t going to tolerate it.”

Tuesday, five more arrests were added to the tally. Deputies with the Covington County Sheriff’s Department arrested 25-year-old Brandon Bobo for possession of marijuana II and possession of drug paraphernalia, while Greg Jackson, an agent with the 22nd Judicial Drug Task Froce, arrested and charged Taylor Allen Stinson, Michael Clark Dunn, Robert Andrew Gafford and Faith Dantzler each with a count of possession of marijuana I, as well as one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Meeks said an interesting aspect of the up-tick in arrests is that almost all of the incidents have stemmed from traffic violations.

“I don’t think any municipality is really setting up road blocks,” he said. “It’s little things that lead to arrests. We had a guy throw a bottle out of a car. We stopped him for littering, and it turned into a marijuana arrest.”

Regardless of the cause, Meeks said his hat goes off to all law enforcement agents in Covington County for their protection of and service to the community as a whole.