By Bonnie Culverhouse
Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agents arrested two men over the weekend and recovered 2 pounds of Methamphetamine with a possible street value of approximately $13,000.
James Leroy Pittman Jr., 40, of W. Monroe is charged with following too close, window tint, driving under suspension, WPSO warrant for driving under suspension, fugitive from Lincoln Parish and possession of Methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
Jeffrey S. Southern, 50, of Quitman, is charged with aggravated flight from an officer, no driver’s license, possession of Methamphetamine with intent to distribute, simple possession of Sch. II, possession of Sch. I and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Sheriff Jason Parker said the men were stopped on Interstate 20 east of mile marker 49 around 12:20 p.m. Saturday.
“We had been contacted by a DEA agent to be on the look out for the vehicle traveling east on I-20,” Parker said. “The vehicle was said to be carrying a large amount of drugs.”
Parker said Sgt. Shane Garner and Deputy James Rowland reported Pittman as the driver of the vehicle and knew he was driving under suspension.
“While we were trying to arrest Pittman, Southern, a passenger in the vehicle, jumped into the driver’s seat and took off,” said the sheriff. “A short pursuit followed and he was taken into custody at Stuckey Road and Solomon Cemetery Road.”
Parker said WPSO K-9 Preacher alerted to the drugs in the vehicle, however, a search turned up nothing.
“A backpack with the drugs was found in a ditch just over the hill crest where Southern had started running,” he said.
Lincoln Parish authorities were notified of the arrests.
“The sheriff there said these are known drug dealers, and they were very happy about the arrests,” said the sheriff.
DEA Monroe Post of Duty, Ruston Satellite Office, assisted with the investigation and seized all the Methamphetamine. Federal charges will be pursued.
“Initially, they are booked on state charges with us,” Parker said. “We are looking to push this through the federal court system, with that amount of dope.”
Pittman and Southern are currently housed at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.