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Drug Task Force

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The Drug Task Force consists of a Commander, an Administrative Assistant, a Lieutenant, five Agents, and a DARE officer. Agents are tasked with enforcing the Controlled Substance Laws of the State  of Mississippi within our community.  The division works diligently to stop the illicit flow of illegal narcotics into our community. They are able to accomplish this goal by conducting investigations into the sale, distribution, and manufacturing of illegal narcotics. These investigations ultimately result in the arrest of narcotic violators and are presented to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution.

Major Greg Lea

Major Greg Lea standing in front of the flag of the United States of America.

Major Greg Lea is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and began his employment with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department in 1997. He served as an undercover agent and then narcotic's agent until 2007 when he was promoted to lieutenant of the narcotics division. In 2012, he was promoted to Major and became the commander of the East MS Drug Task Force.

Major Lea directs the daily activities of the Narcotic Division where he manages, coordinates and monitors the personnel of the division. Major Lea's responsibilities include, but are not limited to, overseeing agents who are actively pursuing narcotic investigative targets, leading to the arrest and prosecution of individuals selling, using, transporting, manufacturing, and trafficking illegal narcotics inside Lauderdale County and the City of Meridian. He reviews the required records and reports prepared by his agents and submits them to the District Attorney for prosecution and presentation in court and often provides testimony in court.

Major Lea also oversees evidence, equipment, and money, receives and responds to complaints, approves drug presentations, and monitors the DARE program. Major Lea acts as a liaison between the county, state and federal agencies, the DA's office, and private and court-appointed attorneys.

Lt. Joe Mercado

Lt. Joe Mercado standing in front of the flag of the United States of America.

Lieutenant Joe Mercado is a graduate of Meridian Community College. In 2006, beginning his employment with the Lauderdale County Sheriffs Office, his assignment focus to the East Mississippi Drug Task Force as Intelligence Analyst led to a lucrative position as Narcotics Investigator. Soon after his appointment to LCSONI came his graduation from the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy. His dedication to the field would merit a 2019 promotion to Lieutenant over the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office Narcotic Division.

Lieutenant Joe Mercado has also held the positions of K-9 Handler, Firearms Instructor, and SWAT Entry Team Member. He also oversees the evidence vault for the East Mississippi Drug Task Force and the Armory for the Lauderdale County Sheriffs Department.

Lieutenant Joe Mercado is second in command of the East Mississippi Drug Task Force and directly supervises the Narcotic Investigators on a daily basis.  

Melissa Spears

Melissa Spears standing in front of the flag of the United States of America.

Melissa began her career with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office October 4, 1994. She is Administrative Assistant for the Drug Task Force where she has faithfully served for almost 25 years. Her daily tasks include, but not limited to, answering calls, taking intel from the public and transferring to agents, sorting the mail, gathering monthly statistics, and foremost, case management.

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