Major drug ring bust has several ties to Hattiesburg

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)- The investigation of an extensive drug operation in Mississippi with tentacles as far away as Amsterdam has resulted in the arrest of 17 people, including four from Hattiesburg. The state undercover sting dubbed "operation brilliant orange" began targeting club drugs such as ecstasy, LSD, and high grade marijuana. The trafficking network reportedly operated in Hinds, Madison, Rankin, Lafayette, and Forrest counties.

Among those arrested were Landon Foster, 24, of Hattiesburg for sell and transfer of marijuana in Oxford; Conner Gardner, 25 of Hattiesburg, who is charged with distribution of marijuana in Rankin county and the sell of oxycodone in Oxford.

Blayze Kraft, 21 of Hattiesburg, charged with intent to distribute ecstacy in Oxford, Hagen Napier, 24, of Hattiesburg, charged with several counts of sell and delivery of oxycodone and adderall in Lafayette county. Authorities are also looking for three other suspects from Hattiesburg.

Authorities say this is the same distribution ring that was headed up by David and Joseph Patrick Coates, a father and son team from Brandon. David Coates was the athletic director and football coach at Northwest Rankin high school. The Coates were arrested in March. Joseph was a Ole Miss student, who formerly attended JCJC.

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