More than 700 people have been arrested as a part of a month-long joint federal, state and local law enforcement initiative organized in response to an increase in violent crime in North Mississippi.
The suspects were arrested 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. Of the total arrests made during the operation, 350 were for felony offenses and 56 were gang-related.
“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 narcotics, $50,720 worth of cash, and 38 firearms.The announcements concerning the MPACT results were made on Wednesday in Oxford by Danny McKittrick, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Mississippi and Clay Joyner, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District along with state and local law enforcement partners.
“I believe the historical results of this operation combined with the community policing efforts of our local partners will have a lasting effect on these communities here in the Northern District of Mississippi,” said U.S. Marshal Danny McKittrick.
Operation MPACT was organized in response to an increase in crime to deal with several organized criminal groups operating out of Memphis and Chicago which migrated to Mississippi via Interstate 55.
The operation commenced 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.
In addition to the Sheriff’s Offices and U.S Marshals, other key partners in Operation MPACT included ATF, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the U.S. Probation Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner praised the efforts of the U.S. Marshals Service along with those of state, federal and local law enforcement partners.
“The success of this operation and the resulting arrests and seizures of criminal contraband directly result from the outstanding leadership demonstrated by the U.S. Marshals Service and the hard work of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners who saw a need to combat rising crime rates and took action to strategically address the problem,” he said. “Arresting those who would commit violent crimes, drug crime and gun crimes in our District and those who are wanted for such crimes is key in making the Northern District of Mississippi safer for the citizens who live here.”
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. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.