Coal Plant Drug Sweep

Law enforcement officers from five different counties converged on the lignite coal plant site in Kemper County Monday. They were searching for drugs.

By noon, at least one felony arrest had been made, for the possession of marijuana and crack cocaine. The total estimated street value for the drugs in that case was several hundred dollars.

Sheriff James Moore says the last time his department spearheaded a drug sweep at the coal plant site was almost a year ago.

"We're doing it now because Mississippi Power requested our assistance and it was more than what we could do. So we called on good friends," said Moore.

Sheriff Moore says those good friends work with sheriff departments in four different counties. He says all readily volunteered their time.

Some of the deputies were from Lauderdale and Jones counties. The others were from Tunica and DeSoto counties in north Mississippi.

The twenty officers conducting the sweep were accompanied by a dozen trained dogs. Ten of those skilled canines are trained to sniff out drugs. The remaining two are trained to detect explosives.

"There are a lot of people working here and a lot of people coming and going. We're just trying to make sure that Kemper County remains as safe as it possibly can," said Moore.

In a statement issued Monday, Mississippi Power officials stressed that the drug sweep was a routine practice that is done to ensure a safe environment for workers at the coal plant site.

"We're searching everyone, even Mississippi Power's upper management. So, nobody will be undone," said Moore, who added that all who are found with drugs in their possession at the site will be arrested and charged.

Currently, more than 3,000 people work at the coal plant site. Peak construction employment is expected to be next month. At that time around 3,500 people will work there.