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Former Hattiesburg officer sentenced on drug charges

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

A former Hattiesburg Police officer has been sentenced after being charged in a drug trafficking operation.

33-year-old Thomas Wheeler was sentenced to five years in federal prison and a $1,500 fine for attempted possession of 50 kilograms or more of marijuana with the intent to distribute, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze.

The charges stem from an arrest in August of 2015. A Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper stopped a commercial truck exiting Interstate 20 in Warren County, and a police dog alerted the officer to potential drugs in the truck. The trooper obtained consent from Elijah Moore, the driver of the truck, to search the vehicle.

During the search, officers found 8 duffle bags containing bricks of marijuana. Moore then admitted that he obtained the marijuana from El Paso, Texas, and was transporting it to Mississippi in order to distribute it.

Moore also told officers that he had exited the ramp to meet his grandson, Thomas Wheeler. Moore stated that Wheeler had agreed to unload the duffle bags of marijuana and transport them to Seminary, Mississippi, to be picked up by Moore at a later date. Wheeler was an off-duty Hattiesburg police officer at the time.

Wheeler was pulled over as he left the area and admitted that he had come to the location in order to pick up the marijuana from Moore. Wheeler also admitted to having picked up another load of marijuana from Moore and was paid $3,000.00.

Moore pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced on March 2, 2017. He is currently serving an 8-year sentence in federal prison.

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