MBN Asks for Probe

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The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics has asked state auditors to investigate allegations of questionable aircraft transfers, gifts of seized weapons and the misuse of federal funds.

Some of the allegations make a connection with the office of U.S. Sen. Trent Lott. The allegations are included in a report obtained by the Associated Press and based on an internal MBN investigation.

A source cited in the report said a Beechcraft King Air was transferred to Harrison County in 1999 at no cost.

A Cessna 206 was transferred to the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission in 2000. Col. Robert Earl Pierce, former director of the MBN’s Meridian office, who became head of the Mississippi Air National Guard’s 186th Air Refueling C-26 counter drug unit, arranged the plane’s transfer.

The MBN document cites a source that says Pierce arranged the transfers with Lott's office for political favors.

Pierce could not be reached on Friday for comment, but he was quoted by Gannett News Service as saying the charges were "totally untrue."

Lee Youngblood, a spokesman for Lott, said that Lott and members of his staff had not seen the report in question. Youngblood said the transfers are not something Sen. Lott could have ordered, as is insinuated in some media reports.