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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -
Blue lights surrounded Martin's Grocery in North Gulfport Tuesday evening as two people were brought out in handcuffs. About an hour later, agents walked out with 32 pounds of marijuana and spice worth an estimated $200,000.
Officers said they found the drugs in the attic.
"When you remove that kind of influence from the community, it's a win for everyone here," Gulfport Deputy Chief Chris Loposser said. "It's a win for the police because it reduces our calls for service when we don't have drug deals going on and the associated violence we have going on with it. And it's a win for the community because they can feel safe at night."
Police say the small store on the corner of ML King Jr. Boulevard and Ohio Avenue has been a big source of complaints.
"Anytime you have street level drug sales, you are going to have loitering, you are going to have individuals involved in some sort of violence. There have been robberies here at this store, we believe, is associated with drugs," Loposser said. "All these things combined together make an unsafe environment."
Drug Enforcement Administration Resident Agent in Charge Danny Comeaux said, "If you are doing illegal activities, money laundering, we will be looking at you. We have the manpower, we have the resources, we have the time, we will put you in jail."
This is not the first run in with the law for owner of the business, Johnson Tran. He is currently on probation after serving more than ten years in jail on cocaine charges.
Store employee Reco Domio was also arrested and as the investigation continues, Comeaux said, more charges could be coming.
"If you are buying illegal narcotics, you can become part of our investigation," Comeaux warned. "Clearly, there are individuals we have watched purchase narcotics and we are watching them also and we are working on those individuals. So don't be surprised if we end up with more arrests."
Officers also confiscated a gun from Martin's Grocery. Gulfport police officials plan to ask the city to declare the business a public nuisance so it can be permanently shut down.