NEW MADRID - Formal charges are pending against 21 people taken into custody during a countywide round-up of individuals suspected in the distribution of drugs.
The New Madrid County Sheriff's Department, Portageville Police Department, SEMO Drug Task Force, Bootheel Drug Task Force and the Missouri State Highway Patrol conducted the sweep through the county beginning early Tuesday. Authorities said the round-up is the result of a long and intensive investigation by the SEMO Drug Task Force and the Bootheel Drug Task Force.
According to the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department, the following people were arrested:
Nassra Aboukassem and James P. Young of Risco; Benny Birdwell, Theresa K. Birdwell, Barry D. Brown Jr., James N. Brown, Daniel N. Buchanan, Lajeana C. Ford, Robert A. Jennings, Chris Long, John C. Skinner, Kenneth R. Vires and Jimmie L. Walker of Portageville; Charlie E. Cluck of Gideon; James K. Gurlin of Malden; Tina L. Sutton and Rodney A. Webb of Sikeston; Steven Wheeler of Marston; and Michael J. Whitley of Lilbourn.
Charges were filed on three individuals in the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections. These were Rickey N. Wigfall, James E. Dean and Claude J. Blacksure, all of Portageville.
More charges are pending against several other people in and around New Madrid County and the surrounding area, said Sheriff Terry Stevens.
In an unrelated event, Stevens reported two people are in custody at the New Madrid County jail after an investigation discovered the production of methamphetamine. Two Marston residents were arrested early Tuesday for the possession of methamphetamine.
The names of these individuals are being withheld pending the filing of formal charges.