Crime

These dispatchers were handling more than just 911 calls, Mississippi sheriff says. Now they're in jail.

Jones County deputies used information from an unidentified man in prison to arrest two 911 dispatchers Wednesday, the department posted on Facebook.

Angel C. Hardwick, 25, of Seminary, and Paxton C. Luke, 24, of Laurel, were arrested on felony charges of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance. Luke also faces a possession with intent charge.

The information from the man implicated Hardwick and Luke in several known drug incidents, Sheriff Alex Hodges said.

Hardwick was arrested at her home and admitted there and during an interview that she was buying and using drugs, Hodges said. She allowed an investigator to look at her phone, and while he was inspecting it a message appeared from Luke saying, "Hey, I found some lortabs," Hodges said.

Luke was later arrested at the Jones County Emergency Operations Center, where both women work as dispatchers, Hodges said.

An investigator approached Luke while she was exiting her vehicle at work, and when she noticed the deputy, she threw her purse into the vehicle and shut the door, Hodges said. She declined a request to search her vehicle, and a search warrant was secured.

Deputies found 28 1/2 lortabs and drug paraphernalia, Hodges said. Deputies also saw a message on her phone instructing someone to meet her at the EOC to buy pills that day.

The man who provided the information did not receive leniency on his charges in exchange for the initial information, Hodges said.

The release also stated dispatch is not under the Jones County Sheriff's Department's authority.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2326, @patrickochs
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