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2nd arrested in conspiracy, insurance fraud case

NATCHEZNatchez’s city code enforcement officer now has a co-defendant in the conspiracy case for which he was arrested this week.

Demiko Lashea Smith, 40, 5 Tyler Circle, was arrested and booked into the Adams County jail Thursday on charges of conspiracy and insurance fraud. Smith was released that evening on a $5,000 bond.

A spokesperson with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office said Smith was indicted along with Willie B. Jones, 58, 4 N. Sunflower Road.

Jones — who serves as the Natchez code enforcement officer — was arrested on the same charges and released on $10,000 bond Wednesday evening.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said Smith is related to Jones, but he is unsure of the nature of the relationship. Jones declined to comment on the matter — including his relationship to Smith — Friday.

Smith could not be reached for comment.

The attorney general’s office spokesperson said that the office could not discuss the nature of the crime beyond the scope of what the indictment against the suspects says.

The a pre-filed copy of the indictment provided by the attorney general’s office alleges that Smith and Jones conspired to commit a crime against the state of Mississippi, “the object of the said conspiracy being insurance fraud,” and they falsified or concealed material facts when filing statements with the intent of defrauding Progressive Insurance Company.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said Jones is currently on administrative leave without pay.

Jones has worked in the code enforcement office since 2005, when he was placed there after the Mississippi State Board of Law Enforcement Standards revoked his certification as a police officer because of past conduct.

Jones had resigned as a police officer in 1997 after he was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly offering a fellow officer $260 not to pursue drug charges against an acquaintance. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and he was rehired as a police officer after that offense was expunged from his record in 2004.