A Columbia man is facing a federal drug charge after agents found 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop last week.
Gregory Robert Thompson, 36, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and a federal magistrate has ordered for him to be kept in custody until a trial because no conditions of release could reasonably assure the safety of the community.
Thompson was a passenger in a Nissan Maxima with a Texas license plate that the Mississippi Highway Patrol stopped for speeding on U.S. 98 in Columbia on May 8, according to court documents.
Mark Mitchell, a special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, swore an affidavit giving an account of the traffic stop. He said Trooper Marquis Fisher made contact with the driver, Waveea Pittman, and smelled marijuana coming from inside the car. He asked her to exit the vehicle to ask her questions about the odor, and Trooper John Harris did the same with Thompson and a bottle of blunt air freshener fell to the ground as he did so, the document states.
They also saw three marijuana cigarettes in plain view, and Thompson pointed to a jar that contained marijuana on the front floorboard after being asked if there was anything else in the vehicle.
Fisher then searched the car and saw a black bag behind the passenger seat. It contained two gallon-sized ziplock bags of methamphetamine, the document said.
“Trooper Fisher asked Pittman and Thompson did the contents of the black bag belong to either one of them and they both said it wasn’t theirs. Trooper Fisher asked again and Thompson stated that it was his,” Mitchell’s affidavit said.
The DEA and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics arrived on the scene to assist with the investigation. A field test yielded positive results for meth, and the gross weight of the packages was 2.5 pounds, the affidavit said.
Thompson and Pittman, who had a Foxworth address listed, were arrested and made an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Michael Parker on May 9 in Hattiesburg.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion Monday to dismiss the charge against Pittman, and Parker granted it Tuesday during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg, according to court records.
Parker also ordered Thompson to be detained until the trial, citing Thompson testing positive for marijuana and opiates at the time of his arrest, a prior conviction for possession of a controlled substance, the nature of the charges and that the “strength of proof is strong.”
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was listed as the arresting agency on the jail docket. A spokesman for the agency declined to comment, saying MBN is part of an ongoing federal investigation.
In a separate drug-related case, on Monday the Marion County Sheriff’s Office arrested Arthur Charles Mitchell III, 22, of Columbia in a “reverse drug operation” in the Foxworth area, according to a social media post by the sheriff’s office. The post said Mitchell brought a half ounce of methamphetamine to sell to investigators.
He was charged with conspiracy to sell or transfer a controlled substance within 1500 feet of a church, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1500 feet of a church and providing false information to law enforcement as well as outstanding warrants for failure to appear. He remained in the Marion County Jail as of Tuesday.