Sollie Concerned over Future of Drug Task Force

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Lauderdale County, Miss. Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie says the East Mississippi Drug Task Force has taken a major hit.
It's a wait and see situation for Sheriff Sollie when it comes to the East Mississippi Drug Task Force. While Meridian Police Chief James Lee says the city is no longer part of the force, Sollie tells Newscenter 11 the proper protocol has not been followed.

"You know, we keep hearing that the city of Meridian is pulling out of the East Mississippi Drug Task Force," Sollie says. "The interlocal agreement that created the East Mississippi Drug Task Force plainly stipulates that in order to do so, we must receive notification 30 days prior to them coming out of that organization."

As of this weekend, Sollie is still waiting on that notification from the city. On Friday, Chief Lee told Newscenter 11 the city is pulling out of the agreement because it can no longer afford to be part of the drug task force. Meanwhile, Sollie says funding for four of the county's eight agents is now in question, meaning it may end up being even harder to fight drug activity in the city and county.

"Potentially, we may be down to three or four agents on the county of this size to identify those who are trafficking drugs," Sollie warns.

The sheriff says with potentially three or four agents left, it will be tough to conduct stakeouts and undercover drug purchases.

"I hope this path that the city is choosing to take doesn't cause all of us problems in the future," Sheriff Sollie adds.

Prior to July, Sollie said the county had its eight agents, while the city of Meridian had three.