Mississippi officials confiscate thousands of dollars in kratom in drug bust

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PANOLA CO., Miss. — One Mississippi community hopes they’ve gotten rid of a drug problem for good after an enormous bust removes a drug parents have been complaining about. 

It’s called kratom. It’s often referred to as an opioid substitute. It’s banned in numerous states across the country and was recently banned in Panola County.

Deputies thought they’d cut off the supply until they heard some parents’ recent horror stories.

“Their kid had gotten sick, and had to take them to the ER,” said Panola County Sheriff Shane Phelps. “It has made their kids very sick.”

Deputies say they found the illegal loot at Crossroads Grocery off Highway 6. 

“We went straight to their office and it was there in a box,” Phelps said. “I think we walked out with three to four boxes full of kratom.”

Earlier this year, local government and law enforcement passed an ordinance that banned kratom from being sold in Panola County.

“Each convenience store was served with the ordinance,” Phelps said.

That was months ago, but law enforcement kept hearing of kratom lingering in the community. Finally, they say they located a main source and found thousands of dollars in banned substance, all in violation of the county ordinance.

When we visited Crossroads Grocery Thursday, there were no kratom products in sight and management refused to comment on the charges.

“When it comes to a kid’s safety, that’s our number one goal,” Phelps said.

The Panola County Sheriff’s office believes they’ve scrubbed their county of the problematic drug and hopes this bust sends a message to local vendors.

“If you’re selling it in this county, we’re going to catch you,” Phelps said.

Kratom is banned in parts of Mississippi, but not state-wide. It’s banned in all of Arkansas and Tennessee.

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