Hancock County law enforcement officials believe they’ve arrested a major drug trafficker from Bay St. Louis who was on the lam for over a month.
Rico Laneaux, 36, and three others were arrested Monday, and authorities also recovered drugs and a number of stolen guns, Hancock Sheriff Ricky Adam said.
Laneaux, along with Misty Moran, Schman Ladner and Justin Fontenot, were arrested Monday on an assortment of gun and drug charges.
“I am very pleased to get these people off the streets of our community; especially Laneaux,” Adam said. “We feel that he was involved in distributing large amounts of illegal drugs into our area.
“When you mix large amounts of drugs, money and the weapons he had, it usually can end badly. I am glad that it did not and all of my people were unharmed in his apprehension.”
The search for Laneaux began when he fled from Hancock deputies on Feb. 8 and left an ounce of meth behind, Adam said. Laneaux is on parole through the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Adam said the Narcotics Division has kept tabs on Laneaux since early February and eventually caught up with him Monday.
He said authorities spotted Laneaux at 1423 Blue Meadow Road in Bay St. Louis and he tried to run again — but he didn’t go far. He ran two doors down in the complex — to Moran’s apartment — before being arrested without incident.
Ladner and Fontenot were also inside of Moran’s apartment when deputies arrived.
Laneaux was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a silencer and possession of a stolen firearm. Deputies also arrested Moran, 39, on charges of possession of a meth, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of paraphernalia; Ladner, 40, on charges of possession of meth, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia; and Fontenot, 18, on charges of possession of meth, possession of marijuana and contempt of court.
After obtaining search warrants, Adam said, deputies searched two apartments in the complex — one where Laneaux was staying with his girlfriend and Moran’s apartment— and found an AR-15 that was stolen from Gulfport, a fully automatic Mac-10 with silencer, a 9mm handgun and a large amount of cash. Adam said when authorities searched Moran’s apartment, they found a .380 handgun that was stolen from Hancock County, a .40 caliber handgun that was stolen from Pass Christian, meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
“It’s a bad day to be a drug user with guns and have another criminal run into your home with law enforcement following him,” Hancock Cmdr. Jeremy Skinner said.
Skinner said Laneaux is a habitual offender and the other three arrested, who he said helped Laneaux hide from the law, are all “well known” among local law enforcement.
Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and Pass Christian police, as well as members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, all assisted in the arrests.
On Thursday, Pass Christian police reported Fontenot and Torie Peter Gray, 25, of Bay St. Louis, have been identified in a string of vehicle burglaries that happened late in the ngiht on March 9.