Archive for April, 2010
City and county governments on the Coast are meeting today to declare a state of emergency as they watch for oil to reach the coastline.
The Harrison County Supervisors are meeting now. The Biloxi City Council will meet at 1:30 p.m. and the Long Beach Aldermen have scheduled a special meeting for 2 p.m.
Other municipalities are expected to follow with declarations to protect the health and safety of Coast residents.
With the oil disaster in the Gulf and the burning of the oil on the surface – the air, this morning, was full of the acrid smell of burning oil. There is a problem looming on the horizon in paradise.
BY: Kathleen Johnson
Katrina Relief Director
BY: Kathleen Johnson
Katrina Relief Director
GEORGE COUNTY, MS
George County’s undercover Operation Cold Snap hit suspected street level drug dealers by surprise at sunrise.
“I think it is important to get them and get them into custody before the word gets out,” Investigator Tony Keel said.
By 6a.m. Thursday, the George County Sheriff’s Department and law enforcers from agencies along the coast, raided homes to round-up 33 suspects. Law enforcers say the men and women sold cocaine, meth, and illegal prescription drugs to undercover agents during a three month investigation.
“Most of half of these arrests are going to prescription drugs like Lortabs, Zanax, Adderal,” George County Sheriff Gary Welford said.
The sheriff’s department said so far this year, about 120 people have been arrested on drug charges. The number doesn’t include the suspects arrested in Thursday’s round-up. Deputies say the drug problem is disturbing.
“It is a problem. I never said we didn’t have a drug problem; we try to deal with it as best we can. We are not different, we are not unique than any other county,” Welford said.
This is Sheriff Gary Welford’s first county-wide drug sting operation, and he promises more will follow.
Drug agents also seized a meth lab and guns during the round-up. The suspects are expected to have their initial appearance in court Friday.
By Patrice Clark
WLOX- ch 13
Former FEMA worker Lashonda Booker and her cousin have to repay more than $720,000 in disaster-relief money intended for Katrina victims.
U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola sentenced both to prison Thursday for conspiring to commit wire fraud.
U.S. Attorney Donald Burkhalter has called it the largest theft of public money in Katrina-related fraud cases.
The judge gave Booker six years and 10 months to serve and sentenced Peggy Hilton to nine years and six months. He also ordered restitution and, after prison time, probation for five years and 100 hours of community service.
They owe $721,212.23.
The women stole the money between October 2005 and May 2009. Booker was transferred to FEMA’s Biloxi office from Jackson County in 2006.
Booker admitted using a federal database to get the names of hurricane victims who had applied for disaster relief. Hilton called FEMA claiming to be those people and changed their banking information.
The judge on Thursday ordered drug and alcohol test for both. Booker was released to await a date to report to prison. Records show Hilton tested positive. The judge ordered Hilton taken into custody.
Sheriff Steve Garber said two men are charged with the rape of an 11-year-old girl who was taken from Slidell by a man she met on the Internet.
Garber said the girl was raped and abandoned in Hancock County, then later raped again and dropped off in Gulfport to wait at Walmart for her father to pick her up.
The sheriff said the girl met Christopher Spiehler, 29, of Slidell, through a social-networking site for persons interested in the occult and vampires. He helped her run away from home last Friday night, Garber said.
Spiehler has been held in the St. Tammany Parish jail since his arrest Saturday on a kidnapping charge. He and a Waveland man have since been charged with statutory rape.
Sean Robertson, 21, of Waveland, is held with no bond pending a hearing.
Garber said authorities believe Spiehler sexually assaulted the girl in Hancock County and abandoned her at a gas station in Bay St. Louis. Garber said Robertson picked her up and took her to his home in Waveland, and also sexually assaulted her.
Garber said Gulfport police went to Walmart to retrieve the girl and wait for her father to arrive.
Detectives said Robertson is cooperating with the investigation.
An armed robbery of an individual in Escatawpa has resulted in the arrests of two minors and one adult, with the minors charged as adults in the case, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said.
The arrests occurred shortly after deputies responded to a report of the robbery in the 4200 block of Mimosa Street on Wednesday. The victim, whose age and gender were not released, suffered minor injuries and was treated and released at Singing River Hospital, the sheriff said.
Investigators the same day recovered some of the stolen items, also not identified, and later arrested Christopher Freeman, 14, a resident of the area the alleged robbery occurred.