Gulfport Police, DEA, U.S. Attorney’s Office teams up for narcotics, weapons bust

The Gulfport Police Department, D.E.A., and USAO announce arrests Tuesday of five people in connection with distribution of narcotics and firearms charges.

Nigel Saunders, Sernareo Barnett and D’Laun Ball, all of Gulfport, and Mary Matthews and Jamaar Saunders of Biloxi, were arrested in Harrison County.

A federal indictment charged the defendants and others, including two co-defendants Raheem Lane and Malyk Harveston of Gulfport, Mississippi, who were previously taken into federal custody, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, and/or the illegal possession of firearms.

These arrests were the result of a joint effort between D.E.A. and the Gulfport Police Department.   Throughout the course of the investigation into these offenses, law enforcement officers seized counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, illegal prescription narcotics, methamphetamine, 120 pounds of marijuana and marijuana edibles, drug currency, multiple vehicles, and 27 illegal firearms. This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office under the Project Safe Neighborhood initiative.

“We at the Gulfport Police Department are committed to reducing drug and gun violence in our city,” said Gulfport Police Chief Chris Ryle. “Because of the partnerships with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we successfully put a stop-gap in the distribution of illicit drugs and guns in the City of Gulfport. The Gulfport Police Department is committed to providing a quality of life our citizens deserve.”

“I commend the joint effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the City of Gulfport Police Department in this investigation,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca. “The trafficking of drugs is a scourge upon our communities. When firearms are added, the violence inherent in drug trafficking escalates exponentially. With these arrests and the confiscation of over 20 firearms, our Mississippi Gulf Coast is a safer place.”

The public is reminded that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Categories: Crime, Featured, Local News, News