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OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. — A large-scale cocaine distribution organization in northeast Mississippi has been dismantled, with five people arrested and more arrests expected, interim Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director Samuel W. Owens said Tuesday.

Law enforcement officers simultaneously served nine search warrants February 1, leading to the arrests in connection with the continuing investigation code-named “Operation Queen Bee,” said Director Owens.

The suspects, with charges and bonds, are: Sherita Garth, 37, of Starkville, three counts of sale of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, $30,000; Calvin Baskin, 43, of West Point, possession of cocaine, possession of MDMA (Molly), conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, on probation with the state Department of Corrections for previous drug charges, no bond; Dashiki Townsend, 31, of West Point, possession of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, $5,000; Timothy Gilliam, 39, of Ecru, possession of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, $30,000; and Debra Walker, 57, of Starkville, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, running a large-scale gambling operation, $5,000.

Agents seized approximately 23 ounces of cocaine with an estimated street value of $66,000 in the course of the investigation. Once the suspects were in custody, agents discovered the organization had supplied cocaine with estimated street values totaling more than $1 million, Director Owens said.

The investigation, led by the MBN as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, resulted in the seizure of approximately $40,000 in cash, seven vehicles, six firearms, three money counters and other paraphernalia used in the distribution of controlled substances, said MBN Enforcement Commander Lt. Col. Mike Perkins.

Though based in Oktibbeha County, the organization obtained large quantities of cocaine and other controlled substances from Houston, Texas, and distributed the illegal drugs to individuals in six other counties, Lt. Col. Perkins said.

The investigation was begun by the Oktibbeha County Sheriff Department and MBN, working jointly with the DEA and ATF. And it required additional support from the Clay County and Chickasaw County sheriff departments, West Point Police Department, North Mississippi Narcotics Task Force and Mississippi Highway Patrol, said Lt. Col. Perkins.

“Because of the hard work of multiple agencies in a yearlong investigation, a major drug organization and a large-scale gambling operation were shut down, making the residents of Oktibbeha County safer,” said Sheriff Steve Gladney.

“Working daily with the MBN in combating the drug dealers in Clay County continues to benefit Clay County residents,” Sheriff Eddie Scott added.

Comment on this Story

  • Lisa S.

    This title is misleading. They seized $66k worth of drugs, not $1 million. The article gives the correct information. Estimating the amount of business the organization has done is not the same as the worth of the drugs seized.

    • Brad

      Lisa S,
      The title is in fact not accurate. However, instead of focusing on the error by the news agency, why not give a big Hooray and thanks to the hard working men and women who spent nights and days away from their families to make this bust happen. It is a sad fact in our world today that many people would rather point out minor errors instead of celebrating huge accomplishments that benefit our good citizens. For my part, I celebrate and congratulate the men women, and agencies that came together to make our area a little bit safer.

  • Me

    I agree it’s misleading and 1 million is actaully 100,000 whatever it takes to make them sound like they accomplished something with our tax dollars

  • Don Rainwater

    What about the Houston Texas distributor now ? Apparently they know who they are

  • vman

    the media do it all the time, but the street value is a million….and it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a million or 66 thousand it’s alot and i’m glad it’s off the streets.

  • Earnest Young

    As a retired law enforcement officer it isn’t misleading. Don’t know what part of the article you read but I guess you missed the YEAR LONG investigation part. The money they seized only refers to want they got during the search warrant. I’m sure after a year of investigation that’s the cumulative amount these diapers made. If they 40 to 60 thousand in one week. Do the math for a year

  • Lisa S.

    No, Sir. I didn’t miss that. I also didn’t miss the only mention of one million in the article:

    “Once the suspects were in custody, agents discovered the organization had supplied cocaine with estimated street values totaling more than $1 million, Director Owens said.”

    Now while $1 million is an impressive amount of drug traffic for Oktibbeha County, this is simply the amount of business the cops estimated the group did at all.

    This means that, in order for them to have seized $1 million in drugs, the group would have never gone through with a single transaction.

    The police only seized $66k worth of drugs according to the article.

    And I made this not to complain about the police department and the use of our tax dollars but, rather, misleading journalism practices that fool people who don’t read the entire article.

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