OXFORD, Miss — More than 700 individuals in north Mississippi were arrested during a month-long effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in March to reduce violent crime, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday.
The arrests were made on a variety of charges including homicide, aggravated assault, aggravated domestic assault, child abuse, child sexual assault, drug distribution, unlawful gun crime, DUI, and failure to register as a sex offender.
The DOJ said “Operation MPACT” (Mississippi Partnering Agencies Coming Together), a U.S. Marshals-led initiative, brought together federal, state and local law enforcement partners from four areas of North Mississippi including Panola, Lee, Lowndes and Grenada Counties to target known offenders, deter crime and improve community and safety relations.
In addition to the 700 arrests for felony and misdemeanor offenses, Operation MPACT resulted in the seizure of $134,180 worth of drugs, $50,720 worth of cash, and 38 firearms.
Of the total arrests made during the operation, 350 were for felony offenses and 56 were gang-related.
Operation MPACT was organized in response to an increase in crime in the participating areas in recent months after several organized criminal groups operating out of Memphis and Chicago migrated to Mississippi via Interstate 55.
The operation began on March 1 in Panola County led by the U.S. Marshal Service’s Gulf Coast Regional Task Force with assistance from Sheriff Shane Phelps and members of his Department before moving to Grenada County on March 7 where Sheriff Rolando Fair and his department assisted federal and state partners.
On March 14, the Operation moved to Lee County, where Sheriff Jim Johnson and Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka and their departments played key roles in the operation. Operation MPACT finished at the end of March in Lowndes County with assistance from Sheriff Eddie Hawkins and his Department.
This operation was one of the many efforts linked to Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.