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Operation Unified enters second phase...

Operation Unified enters second phase in fight against Jackson crime

By: Jeremy Pittari - March 28, 2024

Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell shows a photo of two guns illegally modified to perform like fully automatic firearms during a press conference on Thursday where phase II of Operation Unified was announced. (Photo by Jeremy Pittari | Magnolia Tribune)

  • Hundreds of suspects have been arrested along with the confiscation of guns, drugs and cash in a unified law enforcement effort to address crime in Mississippi’s capital city.

A unified front on fighting crime in Mississippi’s capital city has reached its second phase, with dozens of people arrested along with the seizure of guns, drugs and money as part of Operation Unified. 

Last month, Governor Tate Reeves held a press conference to announce Operation Unified, a joint operation between city, state and federal law enforcement agencies to put an end to the crime the city of Jackson is experiencing. The announcement was made following a viral video depicting a young man shooting a firearm out of the window of a moving vehicle in Jackson.

Since the operation started back in mid-January, 600 individuals have been arrested, 200 firearms and $30,000 in cash were seized, and 500 pounds of illicit drugs have been taken off the streets, said Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell during Thursday’s press conference announcing Phase II of the operation. 

Phase II officially began on Monday, which involved serving 35 warrants as part of the operation. While serving those warrants, law enforcement officers arrested another 40 suspects, confiscated 18 additional firearms and seized another $20,000.

Tindell expects more arrests to be forthcoming since some warrants are still outstanding. He is asking that anyone who may know they have a warrant for their arrest to turn themselves in. 

Photographs were shown during the Thursday press conference, some depicting drugs such as suspected fentanyl pills or ecstasy and others showing two firearms modified with what Tindell said were “switches.”

“These are what make them perform at an automatic rate just like an automatic rifle,” Tindell elaborated. 

Law enforcement officials serving another warrant at a two bedroom apartment in the city located about a dozen guns, various drugs and $12,000 in cash.

“While executing this warrant, officers were told that two gangs were positioning to go to war. That is the type of behavior we want to take off our streets to protect our capital city, our families and our friends,” Tindell said. 

Jackson Police Chief Joseph Wade said he is the first chief in a long time to admit there is gang activity in the city. While not to the level seen in the mid-1990’s, Wade is aware of pockets of gang affiliation in Jackson and is prepared to bring in national agencies to help address the problem. The Chief said he is also willing to speak directly with those involved in the gangs to bring a stop to the violence. 

“When I talk about meeting or speaking with these gang members I’m not talking about calling a truce or giving them a pass. I’m talking about a cease fire, I’m taking about saving lives, because we’re losing too many young men in our city to senseless gun violence,” Wade clarified.

As previously reported by Magnolia Tribune, the agencies that are part of the operation include the Mississippi Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Narcotics, Capitol Police and Office of Homeland Security, Jackson Police Department, Hinds County District Attorney, Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi Department of Corrections, FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“This is what law enforcement collaboration looks like. This is what it looks like here in the city of Jackson. It’s something you probably have not seen in a very long time, if ever,” Wade said during the press conference.

Chief Wade added that his department alone has dedicated a number of resources to this operation, including the Narcotics Unit, the recently formed Anti-Crime Team in Our Neighborhoods (ACTION) Unit and the Intelligence Unit.

“Our citizens in the city of Jackson deserve a better quality of life. I am committed, dedicated and laser focused to give them a better quality of life,” Wade added. 

As part of his continued effort to address the crime, Wade said he planned to hold a meeting with captains at each of the city’s precincts to discuss what his officers are seeing in their respective areas and what the captains plan to do to address those issues. 

Wade said his plan is not to just push the crime to a new part of the city, but to eradicate it.  

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics. Email Jeremy: