MBN Launches Probe

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The head of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics is investigating allegations that two of the bureau's planes were transferred at the request of a former aide to U.S Sen. Trent Lott.

MBN director Frank Melton Monday said that an internal probe began last week into whether the transfers were proper. At issue is a 1999 transfer of a Beechcraft King Air to the Harrison County Sheriff's Office and a 2000 transfer of a Cessna 206 to the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission.

The transfers were allegedly made at the request of Robert Maxwell, who was an aide to Lott at the time. Maxwell, who now works with the U.S. Department of Justice's Police Corps, told The Associated Press that he would not comment on the investigation.

When asked if he arranged the planes' transfers, he said, "Do you think somebody in my position could facilitate that?''

Lott told reporters Monday that he had no knowledge of the two specific transfers. He said it is common practice to designate and move surplus state property to law enforcement agencies.