Ten persons from Louisiana and Arkansas were busted for buying illegal narcotics this week during a reverse sting operation that's been dubbed "Operation Ice Cream."
Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd, Webster Parish Sheriff's Lt. Shawn Baker and Springhill Det. Ronald Wedgeworth, along with several law enforcement agencies, set up the undercover operation in a motel in Springhill.
Baker said the sting followed a six-month long investigation of illegal methamphetamine.
"We had been seeing Crystal Ice distribution in north Webster parish and the south Arkansas area," Baker said.
Agencies involved include Springhill Police Department, WPSO Narcotics, North Webster Narcotics Task Force, Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office, Bossier City Police Department, Drug Enforcement Agency, Louisiana State Police, Union Country Sheriff's Office Narcotics Division, Columbia County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Division, Magnolia Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations.
"The operation went smoothly and without incident," Baker said. "Chief (Will) Lynd and I want to thank the other agencies – we have a wonderful working relationship with each one, and it takes a lot of well-trained agents to make an operation run smoothly and efficiently, as this one did."
"All of the agencies were more than willing to help," Lynd said. "We're a small agency in Springhill, and we don't have the manpower for something like this. We could not have done this alone."
Lynd said agents rented three motel rooms Wednesday for an operation that would last from around 1 p.m. until the early hours Thursday.
"In one room, we put our undercover officers and a confidential informant," he said. "We wired it up and that video was sent to another room with officers monitoring it. We rented another room where officers could see who was getting out of the vehicle ... how many were in the vehicle ... how many were coming into the room and feeding that information back to us in the surveillance room."
There were also officers in vehicles in case a buyer managed to escape.
"They were like a chase team," he said. "Then the informant began making phone calls, and people started coming in."
Lynd agreed with Baker, saying the operation went smoothly ... until the end.
"One of the subjects pulled about a six-inch knife when officers were trying to arrest him," Lynd said. "He would not stop resisting. It took several agents to take him down."
Agents arrested the following persons on felony drug charges:
Tina Marie Morgan, 57, of Taylor, Arkansas was arrested for possession of CDS Sch. II Methamphetamine and possession of Sch. IV Xanax.
Staria Largent, 28, of the 200 block of Sexton Street, Sarepta, was arrested for possession of Sch. II Methamphetamine and Sch. IV Colonzapan.
Jami Amanda Bisceglia, 26, of the 100 block of Matlock Road, Plain Dealing, was arrested for criminal conspiracy to possess Sch. II Methamphetamine.
Joel Thomas Welch, 34, of the 100 block of Gentry Road, Homer, was arrested for possession of Sch. II Methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Brandon Lynn Budwah, 31, of the 100 block of 1st Street, Sarepta, was arrested for possession of Sch. II Methamphetamine.
Billy Ray Gordon, 51, of the 400 block of Mott Road, Plain Dealing, was arrested for possession with intent to distribute Sch. II Methamphetamine.
Casey Mack Cox, 37, of Hali Circle, Springhill, was arrested for possession of Sch. II Methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Jake Lewis, 34, of the 500 block of Cowboy Road, Shongaloo, was arrested for possession of Sch. II Methamphetamine and resisting arrest.
Gerald Lynn Beene, 57, of the 11000 block of Hwy. 160, Leton, was arrested for possession of Sch. II Methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Lemario Darnell Harris, 25, of Camelot Drive, Springhill, was arrested for possession with intent to distribute Methamphetamine.