118 pounds of marijuana seized in Forest

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

The Forest Police Department working in conjunction with the Scott County Sheriff Department executed a safety checkpoint early Monday morning that resulted on the seizure of 118 pounds of marijuana. The drug bust took place at the intersection of Highway 35 and Interstate 20 in Forest.

Cortez Levens, 30, of Frost Proof, Florida was the driver of the vehicle transporting the large amount of illegal drugs packaged separately into one-pound bags.  

“The identity of the suspect arrested in connection with the 118 pounds of marijuana seized Monday morning has been released to the public,” Forest Police Chief Will Jones said. “This is an ongoing investigation and FPD is working with the Scott County Sheriff Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.”

Jones said this is not the largest drug seizure ever in Forest, but it is one of the largest he is knows about. “This was a joint action with Forest Police Department and the Scott County Sheriff Department. Our officers, along with deputies from the sheriff’s office, set-up a safety checkpoint in the early morning hours Monday. The suspect was stopped at the checkpoint as he excited off of I-20, and the officers initial questions led to a search of the vehicle where the marijuana was found.”

The estimated street value of 118 pounds of marijuana could range from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but officials have not given an exact dollar amount for the drugs. I can’t tell you a dollar amount or how much that amount of marijuana is worth exactly, but this was a major bust that stopped a lot of drugs from reaching our streets,” Jones said.

“The driver just came through the checkpoint and the answers he was giving to the officers’ questions led to further investigation and a search of the vehicle which ultimately led to the discovery of the marijuana he was transporting,” Jones added.

Officers with the FPD, along with deputies with the SCSD, conducted the initial questioning of the driver and the search of his vehicle. Jones said it was their instinctive work that directly led to the discovery of the of the drugs being transported in to Forest.

“The suspect is currently being held in the Scott County Jail,” Jones said. “We will be working with the sheriff’s department as this is an ongoing investigation, and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics will be assisting with the prosecution of this individual.”

Captain Wes Stapp with the MBN said, “I have no further comment on this case as this is an active and ongoing investigation.”

As of press time on Tuesday, calls to Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee, had not been returned.