By William Moore
TUPELO – A joint investigation by the Tupelo Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest of a Tupelo man on drug and weapons charges.
Rico Morris, 32, was arrested Friday morning at his residence in the 200 block of Rankin Boulevard. During a search of the house, North Mississippi Narcotics Unit agents discovered almost 30 ounces of powder cocaine (with an estimated street value of $50,000) and more than $20,000 in cash.
Morris was booked into the Lee County Jail and charged with trafficking more than 30 grams of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a felon. Bond was set at $50,000.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say this is an 11,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson. “Rarely do you have the timing where you get to arrest someone with this much on them.
“This was not for personal consumption. This amount would have quickly gone out into the community. It’s good that we caught him when we did.”
Narcotics agents said the large amount of powder cocaine would have been converted into crack cocaine, doubling the amount and increasing the profit margin.
According to Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre, the arrest was the result of a nearly five-week investigation following a Feb. 5 shooting at Morris’ residence. At the time, Morris told police that armed men had tried to rob the residence and a juvenile female was shot in the process.
“With the help of the narcotics unit, we were able to make an undercover buy, which led to the arrest,” Aguirre said. “He is currently charged with trafficking but this case has the potential to go before a federal grand jury. We are currently working with the District Attorney to see which way we want to go with this.”
Morris was the only person arrested during the Friday raid. Aguirre did not rule out additional charges or the possibility of additional arrests.
The North Mississippi Narcotics Unit is a multi-jurisdictional task force made up of officers from the cities of Amory, Booneville, Fulton, Okolona, Pontotoc and Fulton; and the Chickasaw, Itawamba, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss and Lee counties.