A deputy-involved shooting in Iberville Parish last week has led to the discovery of what Sheriff Brett Stassi says was an illegal drug operation that "touched all parts of the parish."
Since Gregory Hardin’s arrest on March 10, Stassi said, authorities discovered he was using his girlfriend, Kenyatta Kelly, to run his illegal drug operation while he was behind bars.
Kelly was shot in the elbow when deputies opened fire on Hardin’s vehicle after he tried to evade deputies during a traffic stop on March 10 in Plaquemine. Kelly and an 18-month-old child were passengers in the vehicle.
Hardin, 32, of Addis, spent his first week of incarceration coaching the 33-year-old Kelly on running his drug operation so that he could collect the money needed to post bail, according to Stassi.
The sheriff said he asked State Police to investigate the shooting and sought additional help from the State Police's narcotics division in its investigation on Hardin's alleged drug operation.
"We learned through phone conversations he was having with her that she was actually moving the dope around," Stassi said Friday. "From jail he was putting pressure on people to use their property to try and get him out."
Hardin was booked on counts of aggravated assault, fleeing from an officer, possession of marijuana and possession of controlled dangerous substances in the presence of a juvenile when he was arrested on March 10. Counts of distribution of Schedule II narcotics and criminal conspiracy were added on Thursday.
Kelly, of 58478 WW Harleaux, was arrested and booked in the parish jail Thursday on possession of marijuana, two counts of distribution of cocaine and crystal meth, possession of a controlled substance in the presence of a juvenile, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Stassi said the investigation into the couple's drug distribution this week led to the confiscation of crystal meth and cocaine with an approximate street value of $8,000.
The sheriff has asked the District Attorney's Office to consider pursuing RICO charges (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) against the couple.
"They are continuing to operate their criminal enterprise from in the Iberville Parish Jail," Stassi said in a prepared statement his office released Friday. "These arrest and the seizure of these drugs have put a serious dent in the availability of drugs in our parish."