Alleged Counterfeiters Arrested On I-55
Coffeeville Man Charged In Altercation
By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Three Jackson men could be facing counterfeit charges are sheriff’s deputies stopped them on I-55 Monday night, seizing almost 30 camcorders and three digital music players.
The stop came after a report from authorities in Grenada alerted the sheriff’s department that the three men were headed north on I-55, stopping at various stations to peddle the electronics which were all “knock-off” version of name brand merchandise. A second call came in from Tillatoba Truck stop, where the men had tried to sell the items. Deputy Ryan Winters arrived at the truck stop just after the men left, but was able to get a tag number and stop them before they entered Panola County.
“Deputies from Panola County were also waiting at the county line and joined us after we stopped the vehicle,” Humphreys said.
All three also face drug charges after allegedly having marijuana in their possession when stopped.
The driver of the car, Demetrius Marshall, age 37, was charged was possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle. Teco Sandifer, 34, and Zachary Oliver, 20, each face misdeamnor marijuana charges.
“They all have lengthy criminal records, their charges that range from drug counts to car thefts,” Humphreys said. Potential counterfeiting charges will likely be added, but the sheriff said investigators with the state’s Attorney General’s office will conduct that portion of the investigation.
Two Attorney General investigators assisted in the investigation, travelling to Water Valley Tuesday morning. An Oxford police officer also brought a drug dog to search the car after it was impounded.
“We could smell marijuana in the car and wanted to make sure there wasn’t any dope hidden in the car,” Humphreys said. The car was released to owner, a Jackson rental company, after it was searched.
“This is getting to be a large problem in our state,” Humphreys said. A new law, which will take effect July 1, will provide a stiffer penalty to help law enforcement prosecute these cases.
The camcorders were packaged with a sticker that indicated they were manufactured by Sony. The music players were similar to an Apple Nanopod, and were also packaged accordingly.
Also seized was a laptop computer and label printer used to fabricate the products.
The Attorney General’s office will send a sample of the camcorders to Sony, where it will be examined by the company to see if there are any copywright infringements.
“Jim Hood takes counterfeiting very serious,” one of the agents told the Herald Tuesday morning. Both agents work undercover and did not wish to be named.
“Business and industry across this country work hard every day to produce safe products. They are helping the law enforcement community to identify counterfeit products that both harm consumers and cause these businesses to suffer financially,” said Attorney General Jim Hood in a recent press release.
In other sheriff’s department news:
• Bond has been set at $20,000 for a Coffeeville man charged with aggravated assault, after allegedly discharging several rounds while pursuing a vehicle on County Road 211 on Sunday, March 22.
Gary Stokes, age 37, of County Road 432, had an initial appearance in front of Justice Court Judge Steve Riley Monday afternoon. He was arrested last week after he turned himself into authorities on Tuesday. Chief Deputy Jerry Ferguson told the Herald that he had visited Stokes mom two days earlier and informed her that an arrest warrant had been issued.
The charges stem from an altercation that began on County Road 211 on property outside the Night Owl, a private club. Both Stokes’ vehicle and the second vehicle that contained two men crashed on County Road following a several mile chase.
The occupants of both cars fled on foot, but deputies were able to talk the two men that Stokes was allegedly following later that night.
• Took a report of an attempted burglary on County Road 25 on March 25.
• Took a report of an assault.
• Investigated a traffic accident on County Road 212.
• Responded to a disorderly conduct call on Hwy. 330.
• Made an arrest stemming from a domestic violence call on March 28.
• Responded to a domestic violence call on County Road 440 near Coffeeville.