Crime

Carjacking suspect, escaped drug dealer, top Most Wanted list

An international drug dealer who escaped prison, two people accused in assaults, alleged drug peddlers and a carjacking suspect top the latest list of most-wanted criminal suspects in South Mississippi.

Since the Sun Herald began its most-wanted series in 2007, more than 160 people spotlighted in it have been taken into custody.

South Mississippi law enforcement agencies have credited the series with encouraging residents to call in tips that lead to arrests. Tipsters are eligible for rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads authorities to an arrest.

The latest list had included Thomas Elliot Stafford, 40, wanted on a capital murder charge in the strangulation of a Latimer resident whose body was stuffed into a freezer. But Stafford was captured Saturday afternoon in Oregon, officials reported.

Jackson County deputies are also searching for a man accused of enticing others to file false affidavits in a case against a felon charged with possessing a firearm in Moss Point.

Biloxi police are on the lookout for two wanted in assaults, including Starlena Woodard, a woman accused in a Oct. 25 stabbing in the 200 block of Stennis Street.

Gautier police are hunting for Michael Devane Whitfield, a man accused in an armed carjacking on Mississippi 57 in September.

George and Harrison county investigators are searching for alleged drug peddlers, including two people identified as drug suspects during an undercover operation targeting alleged gang members in southeast Mississippi, primarily around George and Greene counties and in Lucedale.

In Hancock County, deputies are looking for James Harry Morel, a man accused in sex crimes against a 14-year-old girl in September 2015.

D’Iberville police are on the lookout for five people, three of whom are wanted on fraud charges and another in the theft of electronics from an acquaintance.

In Gulfport, police are searching for a man in a Jan. 26 auto burglary, and Moss Point police need help to find a man who escaped custody following his drug arrest.

Pascagoula police are searching for Regio Lavant in the July 10 shooting of two men while they were sitting in a pickup truck at Ingalls Avenue and Heidenheim Street.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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