Drug Task Force makes four arrests, seizes contraband

The 17th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force made four arrests in two different cases last week with traffic stops on Interstate 20/59 in Greene County.

In the early morning hours Tuesday, Sept. 27, officers arrested Benny Rivera, 28, and Juan Dimas, 28, both of Taft, Texas. Officers seized three kilos of cocaine during the stop.

Clint Sumlin, commander of the 17th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, said the estimated street value of the drugs in their current form was $90,000 but that it ultimately would have become worth approximately $200,000 had it made it to its intended destination.

The task force made two more arrests Friday night when they took Robert Jackson, 33, of Reserve, La. and Kendrick Williams, 39 of LaPlace, La. into custody. During that stop, the task force seized $31,000 in cash along with five firearms and approximately 100 grams of marijuana.

“Highway 80 and 20/59 are major smuggling routes to get drugs and money from Mexico to the east coast. It happens to run through our district,” Sumlin said. “We get out there and look for it in transit.”

Sumlin compared the drug network to a retail distribution network, noting that the task force’s goal is to seize the contraband before it reaches major hubs such as Birmingham and Atlanta where it would later be distributed back into smaller communities.

“If we can stop it before it gets to Birmingham or Atlanta, we can stop it from ever getting into our area in the first place,” Sumlin explained. “The cartels don’t distribute it directly to Demopolis.”