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3-state pursuit ends in Miss. swamp

New Orleans Times-Picayune

ST. TAMMANY, La. — A Mississippi woman wanted on drug charges led law enforcement officials from three agencies on a chase across state lines and through Honey Island Swamp Wednesday evening.

Charisse Omeara, 40, was arrested by St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office deputies about 6:15 p.m. after being cornered in the swamp by law enforcement, Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. George Bonnett said.

Omeara, who is wanted in Mississippi on drug charges, was chased into St. Tammany Parish by the Pearl River County Sheriff's Office about 4 p.m. Wednesday. Bonnett said he did not know exactly how the chase started, and officials with the Pearl River County Sheriff's Office could not be reached Wednesday night.

As they crossed the state line, St. Tammany deputies and police officers from the city of Pearl River joined the chase, eventually following Omeara, who was traveling in a gray Mercury Sable, onto I-59 and into the Honey Island Swamp. During the chase, Omeara's car crashed into a Pearl River Sheriff's Office patrol car. No one was injured in the accident.

Once near the swamp, Omeara and an unidentified man who was riding in the car got out, jumped into a river that runs underneath the I-59 overpass and disappeared into the swamp, Bonnett said. The man was caught soon after the search began and released by Pearl River deputies, he said.

Deputies and officers spent the next two hours searching the swamp for Omeara as the air grew cold and the light grew dim.

As Omeara was brought out of the swamp into the parking lot of the Louisiana Outdoorsman store, she was greeted by about two dozen patrol cars, K-9 pickups and special operations cars. St. Tammany deputies used boats as they chased Omeara through the swamp, and special units that normally deal with alligators and other wildlife were brought in to help in the search, Bonnett said.

Omeara was checked for injuries by emergency medical workers and was transported to St. Tammany Parish Jail in Covington, where she will be held as a fugitive until Mississippi begins extradition proceedings, Bonnett said.

Copyright 2008 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company

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