Mississippi small town’s hotels investigated for drug, prostitution activity

Published 10:46 pm Thursday, May 30, 2019

Anonymous tips from citizens, and complaints from nearby business owners, led to an investigation of alleged drug and prostitution activity at the hotels in Sardis during the past month, according to Capt. Gray Nickels of the Panola County Sheriff’s Narcotics Division.

A Wednesday evening raid at Lake Inn, 608 E. Lee St., resulted in charges for two people, with more expected as the investigation is concluded by deputies.

Nickels said William Perry Turner was charged with possessing a firearm as a felon and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. Linda Ann Nash was also arrested on the same charges.

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A third person, Shimika Walker was also detained by the Sheriff’s Department. She has an outstanding warrant in Louisiana and will be handed over to those authorities and taken there to face charges.

Nickels said the original information about prostitution will also result in charges of other individuals as the case is wrapped up.

Sheriff Dennis Darby said Thursday the work of deputies and task force investigators on the case was especially helped by information citizens of the area volunteered.

“The general public has really been good to us in several investigations lately and we count on those tips to make arrests. It’s when we don’t get cooperation in an area that we can’t do as much.”

“These drugs and the things like prostitution that comes with it will destroy a neighborhood and a town, and citizens have started realizing that we are here to keep that from happening. When citizens report what they see it helps them and their town and I think that’s why we’re getting so much cooperation,” he said.

Darby said the department has also not been deterred by criticism accusing deputies of making more arrests and drug-related raids because of the election year campaigns in the county.

“That doesn’t bother me at all. We’ve been working these types of cases for seven-and-a-half years consistently and the fact is that the bad guys don’t like because we are arresting them,” Darby said. “Abide by the law and you won’t get arrested is my advice to them.”

This article was originally published in The Panolian newspaper in Batesville.