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Drug bust nets eight alleged dealers

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By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It was dubbed "Operation Star Trek," a nearly ten-hour sting Monday where eight people found themselves in handcuffs, all of them alleged drug dealers from Hattiesburg.

"It's not just about making the quantity of arrests, but the quality in our arrests and making sure that we're identifying those high profile criminals is our goal," said Sgt. Synarus Green

Green said the operation was a combined effort between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, a relationship Lt. Terrence Bullock, commander of the Strike Team, said was crucial.

"Just as drugs are and the offenders are connected throughout the nation and sometimes internationally, it's important for us as law enforcement to network ourselves to effectively combat these offenders," said Bullock.

Those alleged offenders, now prisoners are Michael McGowan, Alvin Williams, Reginald Waters, Shantel Love, Donald Hathorn, Ernest Breland, Jerome Jackson and Willie Holloway. All of them were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent. Hathorn and Love also received a charge of conspiracy while Williams received an extra charge of distributing.

"The people who were taken into custody are definitely mid-level to high ranking as far as the networking in the drug industry is concerned," said Green.

"Hopefully they didn't see it coming, hopefully it was business as usual with them and hopefully we delivered a tremendous blow to the narcotics dealers here in the city of Hattiesburg," said Bullock.

The roundup comes after more than a year and a half of undercover surveillance and because the investigation is ongoing, Green says the department is limited in the amount of information it can give, but the department's message remains the same.

"Don't try to hide in Hattiesburg, this is not going to be a place where you can set up your establishment and run illegal activities," said Green.

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