The Newbern Police Department headed the operation and was assisted by the TBI, the Dyer County Sheriff's Office, Dyersburg Police, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Lauderdale County law enforcement, Lake County law enforcement, Tipton County law enforcement, and the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole.
According to Newbern Police, they along with the TBI received intelligence about a rap show, promoted by Prinx (sic) Thompson, coming to The Douglas Club, located at 114 Smith St. in Newbern on Friday night. The intelligence pointed to illegal drug activity and gang presence and activity were highly probable at the event.
"The information we received was those persons that were coordinating the event had similar events in neighboring counties where it was reported to be a crowd presence of 200-300 people where there were suspected, drugs, illegal guns, and gang presence at those functions," said NPD Lt. Gregg Barr.
Officers set up surveillance in the area and at the club around 11 p.m. and were able to pinpoint illegal activity taking place. At that time, the officers began their organized drug and gang saturation of the area.
"We had intelligence before the show, that we could expect some of theses illegal activities and we had surveillance on the premises that confirmed our intelligence," said NPD Lt. Rodney Wright. "We conducted a bar compliance check of the premises, which is something we do quite frequently, and we found a large number of the patrons there to be underage and were believed to be consuming alcohol."
Barr and Wright estimated around 100 people were at the club when officers arrived and began their saturation of the area. After questioning people and performing several searches, officers took several people into custody.
"We netted eight arrests, including the seizure of illegal drugs and several semi-automatic pistols, which were loaded," said Wright.
Newbern Police Chief Harold Dunivant credits the operation's success to the agencies that assisted in the saturation.
Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box also noted the effectiveness of the operation and said it was a common response to such a situation.
"This operation went very smoothly," said Box. "During this time of the year people can expect walkthroughs of any bars and bar checks throughout the holiday season. This is a deterrent in the abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs, and gang activity."
Wright noted Newbern investigators would also continue a joint investigation with the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole and possibly more arrests could result from it.
"If the facility's primary purpose is to serve and consume alcohol on the premises, probationary rules state people on probation cannot be there," said Wright. "We had some people at the club that may be in violation of their probation."
The suspects arrested were:
* Anthony Gooch, 27, 209 Bowen Lane, Dyersburg, Tenn., was charged with possession of marijuana.
* Donald Wesley Jr., 31, 802 Woods St., Dyersburg, Tenn., was charged with possession of marijuana.
* Marcus Hayes, address unavailable, was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.
* Devanti White, 622 McLean St., Dyersburg, Tenn., was charged with criminal impersonation. He also had a fugitive from justice warrant out for his arrest from Illinois.
* Nico Jones, 24, 11100 Tucker St., Dyersburg, Tenn., was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.
* Glynn Powell Jr., 52, 1624 Lake St., Dyersburg, Tenn., was charged with arrested on child support warrant.
* Melvin Russell, address unavailable, was charged with possession of marijuana.
Barr summarized the operation as the Newbern Police department's response to illegal activity.
"When big-city drug, gun, and gang-type violence comes to our small towns this is an example of how we are going to reach out to our neighboring brothers in law enforcement to deter, prevent, and combat any types of these activities," said Barr.