Columbia, MS (WDAM) - A weekend traffic stop has resulted in the arrest of three men who are allegedly involved a ring of smash and grab robberies of cigarettes throughout the Pine Belt.
Terrel Stewart, 32, Terry Plummer, 38, and Freddie Mosley, 21, are behind bars in Marion County. The three were pulled over in Simpson County Sunday night due to an expired tag.
"I cannot say enough about the officer in Magee because at that time of morning to see an expire tag," said Columbia Police Chief Jim Kinslow . "He could have verily easily walked up and question about the tag and wrote a ticket and went on but he didn't. When he found three people in the car, then he found and saw all the cigarettes something sparked him to continue the investigation."
In addition to tobacco officers also found a map with cities circles, including Columbia. Kinslow said, the three men were arrested immediately. On Monday morning the crime was listed on the National Criminal Information Center. Columbia investigators said all the cigarettes confiscated in the arrest lead back to the Tobacco Shack in Columbia.
Kinslow said, "We were able to identify the cigarettes and we are probably going to solve a four or five county burglary ring just on that traffic stop."
He said, believes there's more to this criminal operation than just stealing cigarettes.
Kinslow said, "We don't know at this time what there market for the cigarettes are but it is obvious if you are stealing that quantity of cigarettes you are not just selling those by the package. There has got to be more to it."
Kinslow said this case remains under investigation and more arrests could come.