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Biloxi man accused of robbing elderly woman leads police to marijuana growing operation

James Mitchell Malinda Centifanto
James Mitchell (left) and Malinda Centifanto (right). Photos courtesy of the Biloxi Police Department

The discovery of marijuana being illegally grown in a Biloxi home led authorities to catch a man accused of stealing from an elderly woman.

On Friday, Biloxi police responded to the 2400 block of South Shore Drive to assist Gulfport officers in locating 36-year-old James Terry Mitchell III, who had an active arrest warrant. Mitchell is accused of stealing $20,000 from a 95-year-old woman whose husband had recently passed away.

Once on scene, contact was made with 33-year-old Malinda Jean Centifanto, as well as two small children. While speaking to Centifanto, officers could smell the odor of marijuana emitting from the residence. The woman and children were then removed from the home, police report.

While securing the house to obtain and execute a search warrant, authorities claim that multiple marijuana plants were seen in plain view, along with other items believed to have been used for cultivating.

After a search warrant was acquired, officers found Mitchell hiding inside the home in a closet. He was arrested without incident. Mitchell is charged with manufacturing a controlled substance by Biloxi police. Gulfport police were also able to serve their fugitive from justice arrest warrant against the subject for uttering forgery and computer fraud. A hold was placed on Mitchell by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

As for Centifanto, the woman was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, two counts of child endangerment, and hindering prosecution. She was given a bond of $200,000.

Both Michell and Centifanto were transported to the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. Police have yet to confirm the duo’s affiliation with one another and who the children belong to. Authorities have not reported if the children were placed in the custody of Child Protective Services or the care of a relative or loved one.

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