PURVIS, MS (WDAM) - A judge denied bond for Christopher Cole, the man accused of transporting four-and-a-half pounds of marijuana in a former Newton County Sheriff's Department vehicle Thursday.
Cole was arrested in Purvis Thursday after an agent spotted the cruiser on I-59. He's charged with drug trafficking and impersonating a law enforcement officer, as well as possession with intent to distribute and disorderly conduct.
Investigators seized four and a half pounds of marijuana from the vehicle and Cole's home in Purvis. The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics said there was 31 varieties of weed,
"He had an organized operation set up. So he definitely, in my professional opinion, was the local distributor, at least in his community," said Lumberton Police Chief Carlus Page.
Page said he received a tip that Cole may be selling drugs in Lumberton recently and less than two weeks ago, saw him driving the marked cruiser through the area. Page said he removed the light rack from the vehicle and told Cole the decals needed to be removed before he drove it again.
We wondered how Cole, who was on parole when he purchased the vehicle, was able to purchase a marked cruiser from a sheriff's department.
Newton County Sheriff Jackie Knight said the department sends the cruisers and vehicle identification numbers to the county administrator, before the administrator works with an auctioneer to sell the cars.
"I'm not proud, I'll tell you that, I'm ticked off," Knight told WDAM Friday over the phone.
Newton County Administrator Steve Seale said it is the county's responsibility to remove the decals before sending to the auctioneer, who sells the vehicles "as-is." In this case, that was not done.
Knight said that would not happen again.
"This, meth, other forms of illegal narcotics are tearing our communities apart," said Page. "It's very rampant in Lamar County and with the help of multiple agencies, we are going to clean it up, we're not going to stand for it."
Several agents worked together in the arrest, including the Lumberton and Purvis Police Departments, Lamar County Sheriff's Office and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
"This is a fight against drugs, we got one off the street and now we go back to the drawing board," said Page. "There's a drought coming in Lamar County."
Cole remains behind bars at the Lamar County Jail.