Feds' 'Operation High Life' Drug Raid Arrests Can Draw Life in Prison | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Feds' 'Operation High Life' Drug Raid Arrests Can Draw Life in Prison

A federally organized drug task force arrested 11 people near Philadelphia, Miss., on May 30, U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said at a press conference. Law enforcement personnel are standing behind him.

A federally organized drug task force arrested 11 people near Philadelphia, Miss., on May 30, U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said at a press conference. Law enforcement personnel are standing behind him. Photo by Marie Weidmayer

— At least six people in Mississippi and Texas could face life in prison after a group of federal, state and local law enforcement seized more than 40 kilograms of methamphetamine, 3 kilograms of cocaine and 100 pounds of marijuana near Philadelphia, Miss., on May 30 in a coordinated drug raid. Federal agencies involved in the raids include ICE's Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, along with multiples local agencies.

"These arrests are the culmination of an extensive Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation dubbed 'Operation Highlife,' which targeted illegal narcotics distribution in this part of our state," U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said at a press conference in the federal courthouse in downtown Jackson Thursday. "This particular illegal drug activity has been occurring in the East Central Mississippi area for the last several years."

The task force arrested 11 people, with their indictment unsealed Wednesday. Their arraignment is June 1.

At least 15 federal, state and local law enforcement organizations worked together for the task force, which covers Texas, California, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, Hurst said.

"These arrests and the dismantling of this drug-trafficking network is exactly what the OCDETF program was created to do," Hurst said. "As you can see this was a complete joint effort that led to the success and the arrest yesterday."

To end this trafficking ring effectively, it had to be hit all at once, not just arresting individual purchasers or dealers, Hurst said.

"I think the message is clear that we are not going to stop. We're going to come together, we're going to work together with law enforcement across county lines, across district lines," Hurst said. "When we come together there is no one that can avoid us, there is no one that can hide from us and we're going to make sure that we put an end to this kind of criminal activity in the Southern District of Mississippi."

The arrests only represent accusations, and those charged are innocent until proved guilty. "Operation Highlife" arrested the following 11 people:

Brandon Deshanta Miller, 32, of Dallas, Texas, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth, possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth and felon in possession of a firearm. Miller faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $30.25 million fine, if convicted.

Shandlette Hudson, 42, of Philadelphia, Miss., is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth. Hudson faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $20 million fine, if convicted.

Dijon James Seales, 28, of Philadelphia, Miss., is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth, possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth, possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of meth, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Seales faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $25.5 million fine, if convicted.

Lorenzo Dyrell Hickman, 32, of Philadelphia, Miss., is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. Hickman faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $20 million fine, if convicted.

Latrice Cherrell Boler, 29, of Philadelphia, Miss., is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth. Boler faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $10 million fine, if convicted.

Chaddis Demond McAfee, 36, of Philadelphia, Miss., is charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of meth, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. McAfee faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $10.5 million fine, if convicted.

Courtny Orlando Campbell, 27, of Philadelphia, Miss., is charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth. Campbell faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $10 million fine, if convicted.

Danny L. Drake, 43, of Philadelphia, Miss., is charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth. Drake faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and up to a $5 million fine, if convicted.

Kevin Ashley Wells, 37, of Philadelphia, Miss., is charged with possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of meth. Wells faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, if convicted.

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Jimmie Terrell Harrison, 43, of Forest, Miss., is charged with felon in possession of a firearm. Harrison faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, if convicted.

Tray Beamon, 32, of Louisville, Miss., is charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth. Beamon faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $20 million fine, if convicted.

Hurst, appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced a coordinated, late-night "surge" inside Jackson in April as part of what he dubs "Project Eject." He later announced 45 arrests for a mix of drug, gang and weapons charges. The Jackson Free Press has requested the names of the people arrested and their charges multiple times, including at the press conference for "Operation Highlife," but Hurst has declined repeatedly to provide that information.

"Project Eject" is part of Sessions' return to a "Project Safe Neighborhood" strategy of federal arrests for gun charges and his pledge to renew emphasis on drug enforcement.

Email marie@jacksonfreepress.com. Read more at jfp.ms/projecteject.

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