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Newton police chief says, Go somewhere else to sell'

By By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
May 11, 2002
NEWTON The Newton Police Department arrested 11 people Friday in a drug sting which brought a five-month investigation to a close.
Three suspects have not yet been charged. Two more arrests are possible in the next few days.
Police Chief Harvey Curry said the sting was meant to send a message that drugs and the sale of drugs will not be tolerated.
Curry said more officers are assigned to his department's drug enforcement unit than any other part of the department.
The investigation started Jan. 15 and wrapped up May 10, Curry said. The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics participated in the investigation and the Newton County Sheriff's Department helped make the arrests in Friday's roundup.
Undercover officers spent the five months making small buys of $40 to $100 for crack cocaine and marijuana.
During the roundup, officers spread throughout Newton to arrest suspects. Several arrests were concentrated in the area of Pine Street, Old Hickory Road and Railroad Street.
Suspects charged in the investigation could face 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines each because the alleged crimes involving conspiracy to sell illegal drugs were committed within 1,500 feet of a church.
Those charged in the investigation include:
John Henry Nichols, 47, $40,000 bond;
Ezelle Johnson, 53, $100,000 bond;
Marcus Bennett, 21, $40,000 bond;
Larry Dukes, 22, $80,000 bond;
Matthew Dukes, 20, $120,000 bond;
Jamie Johnson, 22, $50,000 bond;
Chris Chapman, 28, $40,000 bond;
Gregory Jones, 20, $200,000 bond;
William Ryan Cellison, 19, $30,000 bond; and
Theddius Robinson, 22, $40,000 bond.