Meridian Star

Local News

August 12, 2010

Names released of JJ’s raid

MERIDIAN —     The number of complaints coming to his office pertaining to alleged illegal activity at JJ's Lounge in Meridian over the last several weeks was just too much to ignore, said Meridian Police Chief Lee Shelbourn Wednesday.

    Shelbourn said the 11 people who were arrested in a Friday night raid at JJ's was the result of an investigation that began about two and a half months ago. He said numerous phone calls from Meridian residents prompted the investigation.

    "One or two calls is one thing but the number of contacts we were getting here at the department made it appear there was something going on," said Shelbourn. "It is our job to investigate and arrest those people for breaking the law no matter if it is capital murder or a city ordinance. That's our job here."

    Those arrested on the charge of sexually oriented acts in an alcoholic-related establishment were: John Barmer, 73, of 886 Highway 11 South, Shirley Gidden, 68, of 1628 32nd St., Linda Lee, 37, of 6413 Pine Springs Road, Ava Lockley, 22, of 1537 Russell Road, Elizabeth Utley, 25, of 135 Highway 11/80, April Newell, 31, of 811 B St., Tocarro Ford, 22, of 1801 Sixth Ave., Kina Davis, 29, of 2015 Mosby Road, all of Meridian, Linda Broadway, 38, of 210 Center Ave., Enterprise, Linda Roberson, 31, of 212 Kathy Ave., Quitman, and Brittany Fishpaw, 22, of 8603 Highway 613, Moss Point. All of those arrested have since bonded out.

    At about 9 p.m. Friday, undercover and uniformed officers from the Meridian Police Department and the East Mississippi Drug Task Force went into the lounge to take into custody the bar's owners and nine of its employees, eight of which were dancers.

    Lt. Al Brown, who is attached to the EMDTF from the MPD, said undercover officers had been monitoring the bar located at 121 Russell Drive. During the time of the undercover operation, Brown said the officers witnessed violations of city code 5-53, which prohibits the exposure of "human genitals" or the "pubic region," "sexual activities" and lap dances at establishments serving alcoholic beverages.

    Brown said the undercover officers made several visits for several weeks to document the alleged acts.

    Brown explained the EMDTF was involved because the possibility of "drugs being available" was mentioned to an undercover officer during one such visit.

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