76 year-old pleads guilty in federal drug investigation

76 year-old pleads guilty in federal drug investigation
Elijah Moore. Source: Madison County Sheriff's Department

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Seminary man has pleaded guilty to federal charges in a 2015 investigation involving more than 600 pounds of marijuana.

Elijah Moore, 76, pleaded guilty last week, Nov. 15th, in federal court before U.S. Senior District Judge David C. Bramlette III, to possession of more than 100 kilograms of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

Moore was arrested August 8th, 2015 when he and his grandson, former Hattiesburg Police Officer Thomas Wheeler were caught on Exit 15 off Highway 20 in Warren County with a tractor trailer and more than 600 pounds of marijuana.

According to the Warren County Jail booking department in August 2015, Moore was booked into the Warren County Jail on August 8th by agents with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance. He was released on a $20,000 bond on August 11th, pending his return for the case to be presented to a grand jury.

"Moore admitted to possession the marijuana in the tractor trailer he was operating when he was stopped for running a stop sign on Exit 15 off Highway 20 in Warren County," said U.S. Attorney Gregory Davis and FBI Special Agent in Charge Donald Alway in a written statement.

Officer Thomas Wheeler was dismissed from the Hattiesburg police department Monday August 10th.

"Officer Thomas Wheeler's employment has been terminated with the City Of Hattiesburg which is a personnel matter therefore we do not have any further comment," said Hattiesburg Police Department Lt. Jon Traxler in a written statement.

According to sources with the investigation, Wheeler has not been charged at this time as a part of the ongoing investigation.

"The case remains under investigation," said FBI Public Affairs Specialist, Brett Carr.

Wheeler was sworn in as a Hattiesburg Police officer August 11, 2014, after coming to the department as a lateral hire from the Covington County Sheriff's Department. He also worked at the Covington County Sheriff's Department for about two years.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Hattiesburg Police Department have all been involved in the investigation and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Rushing.