Crime

Gulfport Guardsman wants evidence excluded from drug case against him

D. Cooper
D. Cooper

GULFPORT -- An Army National Guardsman held on drug charges is asking to suppress evidence obtained from two cellphones and several packages seized during the investigation.

A pretrial hearing is set for Monday for David Cooper, 44, who was arrested with his wife, Regina Cooper, 48, of Gulfport, on charges of conspiring to distribute meth, Ecstasy, alprazolam and synthetic narcotics similar to Spice or bath salts.

A six-count indictment alleges the Coopers conspired to distribute illegal drugs in Harrison County and elsewhere from December 2012 until their June 23 indictment.

Their customers included military personnel who wanted synthetic narcotics, which don't show up in drug tests, said a Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agent assigned to Homeland Security Investigations.

Regina Cooper has also been charged with misprision of a felony for having knowledge of a crime and failing to report it. She's set to enter a plea Monday.

In the motion to exclude evidence, David Cooper's attorney argues authorities did not have a warrant to search two cellphones seized when Cooper was arrested May 25, 2014.

Authorities said the cellphones contained a year's worth of emails and text messages related to drug transactions.

He also said authorities did not have the right to search packages addressed to Cooper from his wife that were intercepted at the post office in May and June 2014.

Regina Cooper gave authorities permission to search the packages as well as the couple's property, resulting in the seizure of various drugs in the packages, according to records.

David Cooper remains jailed without bond on the federal charges.

His detention order says he continued to communicate with overseas drug traffickers while out on bond on state charges.

MBN agent Ian Estorffee has testified U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found a package of drugs from India addressed to David Cooper on May 25, 2014. The package was intercepted at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

The pair are also accused of receiving drug shipments from other countries including China and Pakistan.

At their home, authorities seized assorted drugs, equipment used to weigh and package drugs and postal-tracking receipts.

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