A search of three homes in response to recent drug-related shootings has led to drug arrests and a felony child abuse charge, Police Chief Tim Hendricks said.
Police found meth and assorted drug paraphernalia in a home in the 600 block of East North Street, resulting in a felony child abuse charge for 26-year-old Rachel Tate, he said.
“We found a used, dirty needle in the area where a child was sleeping.” Hendricks said. “With that and meth and everything else we found, that’s no safe environment for a child.”
Tate’s bond was set at $50,000.
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Police searched two other homes Tuesday morning and made a total of seven arrests, two of them involving felony drug charges. Henderson said the searches also turned up crack cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
“The people we targeted with search warrants are not suspects in the shootings,” Hendricks said. “But knowing our recent shootings were drug-related, we are sending a message that illegal drug activity will not be tolerated in our city.”
Borrowing a term used by Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania, Hendricks said he is putting members of a “criminal subculture” on alert.
“The Police Department will not sit idly by while a criminal subculture takes hold and commits acts of violence and drug activity,” he said.
The other homes searched were in the 300 block of Saucier Avenue and 300 block of Mercier Avenue.
The two felony charges allege Amber Lea Bosarge, 35, had meth, and Henry Tops III, 40, was in possession of crack cocaine. Bonds were set at $10,000 for Bosarge and $50,000 for Tops.
Police arrested two people on misdemeanor charges of both possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. Hendricks identified them as Kevin Gary, 37, and Tiffany Lopez, 36. Others arrested on misdemeanors, were Crystal Biggs, 50, possession of marijuana; and Christopher Gary, 42, possession of paraphernalia.
The city made national headlines Feb. 7, when two men were fatally shot and three men and a woman were wounded in a shooting just after the St. Paul Carnival Association Mardi Gras parade. The four men arrested are felons who were on probation for drugs or crimes of violence.
The latest shootings, both unsolved, were Nov. 19 and Jan. 1.
A 26-year-old man was critically wounded in the November shooting on West Railroad. He was sitting in a car in front of a home he was visiting when he was shot twice in the abdomen.
Another man, in his mid- to late-20s, was shot in the chest New Year’s Day at a home he was visiting on Lynn Circle off Oak Park Drive.
Police described the subject in the latest shooting as slender and between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall with shoulder-length dreadlocks. He wore all black clothing and had a small-caliber handgun.
Hendricks said the Police Department will continue to partner with area law enforcement agencies and with the community to keep Pass Christian safe.
“We will continue to prevent crime, enforce laws and hold those accountable that do harm to others,” he said. “Together, with all stakeholders in our community, we will take a zero tolerance approach to drugs and violence.”
SunHerald.com is working on an updated report.