Six federal indictments were announced Tuesday as the result of a round-up in May.
Called Operation Crime Driver, the multi-agency effort was the largest of its kind in Tipton County and targeted offenders wanted on arrest warrants for violent criminal offenses in Tipton County.
It was conducted in response to the six shootings in Covington on Feb. 20 which left four people hurt.
“We have selected these cases for federal prosecution because we have believe we’ve identified the real and true crime drivers in Tipton County,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Dunavant. “This successful joint operation shows we have the will and the ability to hold offenders accountable and to actually reduce violent crime in our rural communities.”
The biggest arrest that day was that of Maurice Nash, a 46-year-old from Atoka, Dunavant and Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley call a career criminal.
Since 1992, Nash has amassed more than 100 different charges, including assault on a police officer and especially aggravated kidnapping.
He had been released from prison just months before the May 3 parole check, when a stolen handgun, $11,579 in cash, 90 pills of ecstasy, a small marijuana grow operation, and Gangster Disciples gang literature was found inside his home.
A search of his vehicle produced approximately three pounds of marijuana and a SKS 7.62 assault rifle, Dunavant said.
Nash has been charged in federal court in Memphis with possession of MDMA (ecstasy) and marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
If convicted and found to be an Armed Career Criminal, Nash faces a possible sentence of 360 months and up to life in federal prison.
He’s also facing up to 30 years in state prison for the same crimes.
Danny Muex Jr., 31, of Atoka, was arrested the night of the shootings after leading police on a high-speed chase in north Covington. After he wrecked his vehicle, police found the gun he’d thrown from it matched the caliber used in the shootings.
He has not been charged with the shootings, but was on probation from the State of Florida at the time and was charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun in both state and federal court.
If convicted, he faces up to 120 months in prison.
During a traffic stop on March 3, Ramell Jackson, 23, of Millington, was found to have a handgun in his possession. At the time he was under indictment for delivering drugs and was an admitted drug user, Dunavant said.
On May 3, Jackson was found to have ammunition after being convicted of a drug felony.
He was charged in federal court with possession of a firearm while under felony indictment, possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of ammunition.
He is currently in state custody awaiting arraignment on the federal charges. If convicted he could serve up to 120 months.
Former Shelby County corrections deputy Marcus Green, 38, of Covington, was on federal supervised release for a prior federal drug conviction when he was found to be in the possession of 1.5 pounds of marijuana.
The U.S. Probation Office filed a petition to revoke his supervised release and he was then indicted by a federal grand jury for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
He pleaded guilty to both the probation violation and the drug possession charge.
Green was sentenced to a year and a day in custody for the probation violation and faces a sentence up to five years in prison for the drug possession charge.
Deputies said they could smell marijuana coming from Isca Johnson’s apartment when they arrived.
Johnson, 23, of Covington, gave them consent to search and they found marijuana, alprazolam, a loaded handgun, and ammunition. He admitted to owning the items and to being an illicit drug user.
Johnson has been charged in federal court with possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.
If convicted, he faces up to 120 months in federal prison.
Jodeci Young, 23, of Covington, has been charged in federal court in Memphis with possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.
Young has been charged with drugs and attempted second-degree murder twice in Covington in the last five years.
If convicted, Young faces up to 120 months in federal prison.
The indictments were announced at a press conference in Memphis in which Dunavant was joined by the leaders of participating law enforcement agencies.
“This should also send a pretty strong message that we are tired of the trigger-pullers and the traffickers who are terrorizing our communities and with this on-going partnership and collaboration we will continue our laser focus on the real crime drivers, which are guns, gangs and drugs.”
District Attorney Mark Davidson said Operation Crime Driver will continue and more operations and more charges are expected.
“There will be prosecution and there will be prison time for the criminals committing violent crimes and possessing drugs in Tipton County. Let this send a message … rural counties like Tipton County are not a safehaven for you to commit crimes. You will be sought out by law enforcement, you will be targeted, you will be charged, arrested, prosecuted and convicted.”
Also on hand, Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley thanked the other agencies for their collaboration.
“This is going to be the game changer,” he said. “I always said if crime’s not followed by fear and punishment, what do we have? Well, you can see the months and the years, one of them maybe up to life … that’s the punishment. It’s worth it, keep on going. The warning’s over.”
Chumley said the sheriff’s office has been doing all it can do to help with this and other operations as a means of fighting crime in Covington and Tipton County.
“Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future and if you can’t get your future together, we’re going to get it together for you.”