HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With rumors of gang violence circulating on social media this past weekend, several local law enforcement agencies calmed concerns by saying the threats were not credible.
The Hattiesburg Police Department was one of those agencies, and they spent the weekend pushing proactive policing.
Officers made 10 arrests, seized ice, marijuana, $1,400 in counterfeit cash, four weapons, filled out 16 gang identification cards and made eight community contacts.
"This was all part of a roundup that had been planned actually about a month or so in advance, so it wasn't specifically because of the stuff that was put out on social media," Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler said. "They were wanted by us and the Metro Narcotics agency as well, and we were able to identify other key people who we see that are affiliated with different groups here within the city."
Those "groups" are also referred to as gangs, and officers getting valuable information from them helps fill out gang identification cards for the department's database.
"With identifying them we collected their information and put it on what we call a Gang ID Card, it's similar to a field contact report," Traxler said. "All that is, is where we got out with somebody, we have identified them as, in this case, affiliated with some type of organization and we document who they are affiliated with, where they stay, what their information is."
Officers take that information and use it in future cases if the names or information comes up during an investigation.
Traxler added the roundup was nothing that derived from social media posts, that it had been planned for months.
"We want to reassure our public, as we did with our Facebook page, letting them know that we were there, we were monitoring all the stuff that was on Facebook and we had no credible threats that were put against our citizens," Traxler said. "You may not know all of our operations that are being planned but we do have a lot of stuff behind the scene that we're here working towards to make sure our public is safe."
The names of the 10 arrested were not made available from the Hattiesburg Police Department.
However, Traxler said the charges range from possession of a controlled substance, felony MDOC violation on active gang members, to felony eluding.