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Heavy workload has Union Co Jail nearly full, but still room for law breakers

Union Co. Sheriff Jimmy Edwards and his officers have had a busy week.

New Albany, MS– Although it’s not strictly speaking a hotel, Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards operates the highest capacity facility in the county for lodging people away from home.

The week just ending has been a particularly intense one for the sheriff and his staff and has resulted in his facility, also known as the Union County Jail, being near its capacity of 100 guests.

More lodgers are on their way.

Many will recall that the Myrtle Quick Stop convenience store at 1740 Highway 178 was burglarized at 10:50 pm. on Feb. 12th. Security surveillance videos showed a man trying to kick in the front door of the store, but he could not break the glass. Then he tried slamming the glass with a piece of plywood, and that didn’t work either. Finally he came up with a concrete block and was able to shatter the glass and enter the store.

Inside, he stole about $500 in coins and emptied a trash can onto the floor. Then he filled up the trash can with cigarettes and handed it through the door to a female accomplice.

The video shows the man went back in the store and tore up the keypad on a burglar alarm system.

After a lengthy investigation, deputies of the Union County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO), working with officers of the Shelby County, TN, sheriff’s office, identified the perpetrators.

Thursday morning Union County and Shelby County lawmen executed a warrant, making entry at about 9 a.m. into a Memphis motel room. They arrested a man and a woman who will be charged with the Myrtle burglary. Arrested were Frederick Batts, age 31 or 32, and Shamika Farmer, age 36.

Children were with Batts and Farmer in the Memphis motel room.

While making the arrests Mississippi and Tennessee deputies seized 30 bundles of heroin and 35 Suboxone strips. (Suboxone is a drug used in trying to rehab people addicted to opiates, but is also widely used illegally as a recreational drug.)

Law officers also seized a fully loaded AR15 semi-automatic rifle, a loaded 12 gauge shotgun and a loaded .22 caliber hand gun.

Batts had five outstanding Tennessee arrest warrants for crimes including car jacking, theft of property, vandalism and evading police officers. Tennessee officials are expected to add several charges, obviously including drug violations, for both Batts and Farmer.

Sheriff Edwards said that his department will put detainers on Batts and Farmer, and after Tennessee authorities are through with the pair, he will seek to extradite them to Mississippi to face charges on the store burglary in Myrtle

The Myrtle area had been involved in three other actions by the Union County SO.

Readers of have already learned of the arrest Monday of Chandler Rodgers for the burglary of the New Hope Baptist Church and of the near simultaneous arrest in Myrtle of Christopher Jones for arrest warrant in a crime unrelated to Rodgers or the church burglary/

Also on Monday and east of Myrtle, UCSO deputies made a traffic stop on CR 75 and arrested Rodney Rhymes, age 27, for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell. Shirley Betts was also arrested with Rhymes and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia

Rodgers, Jones, Rhymes and Betts were added to the guest list at the sheriff’s jail.

UCSO officers were also engaged in the strange incident Tuesday near Blue Springs in which a man was found hanging upside down and naked in a dead cedar tree. The man was alive and transported to the hospital in Tupelo. No charges have been filed in the man-in-a-tree situation.

Also Tuesday Union County deputies made an arrest in the Fairfield community of Shirley Pritchard, age 56. She has been charged with two counts of sale of a controlled substance. Her bond was set at $100,000. Pritchard faces other charges in Pontotoc County.

Sheriff Edwards is near full capacity in his housing facility, but can always find room for a few more.

Unlike other hotels and hostels, Sheriff Edwards also feeds, clothes and, by law, provides medical and dental care those staying at the “Jimmy Edwards Hotel and Spa.”

Thanks, Sheriff, for all you and your guys do, and for  helping with this story.

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