State Police recover trash bags full of prescription drugs, six arrested _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Lt. J.B. Slaton, Deputy Commander of Public Affairs for the Louisiana State Police, stands before a press conference at State Police Headquarters Thursday, pointing at medical facility fliers seized along with the prescription medicines and other evidence seized after State Police obtained a search warrant for a 'stash house' storage unit in East Baton Rouge Parish. Valued at at least $1 million, possibly as much as $2-3 million, the pharmaceuticals seizure was the culmination of a near year-long investigation of pharmacy break-ins, resulting in three burglary ring members being arrested Oct. 10 in East Baton Rouge Parish, along with three others for resisting arrest, before current stash house seizure. The burglaries occurred in several parishes, and the investigation involved a number of police, sheriff's office and law enforcement agencies.

State Police investigators on Thursday seized roughly $1 million in prescription drugs from a rented storage unit — the result of more than 25 pharmacy burglaries across two states.

Shelton Broadway, 41; Keeshla Stagg, 39; and Ladnell Womack, 27, who were all arrested Oct. 10, used tools to break into the pharmacies across Louisiana and Mississippi and stole large quantities of drugs with the intention of selling them later, said Lt. J.B. Slaton, a State Police spokesman.

Pharmacy burglaries have been an issue across Louisiana as prescription pills have risen in popularity and become a recreational drug of choice, especially among wealthy adolescents. In 2013, at least 15 pharmacies across East Baton Rouge Parish saw break-ins or attempted break-ins.

State Police began investigating a string of burglaries in January and noticed the thefts seemed linked by the use of tools for entry and the focus on prescription drugs, Slaton said.

The investigation ultimately led detectives to Baton Rouge and warrants for Broadway, Stagg and Womack were issued.

The three were arrested when State Police showed up at Baton Rouge addresses with search warrants. They were booked into Parish Prison on counts of simple burglary of a pharmacy and criminal conspiracy.

Police also found a gun and rifle during the raids.

Three others also were arrested while troopers were taking Broadway, Stagg and Womack into custody.

Joshua Womack, 18, and Roderick Harris, 27, were booked on counts of resisting arrest, while Montrel Stagg, 27, was booked on a count of simple battery.

Almost two weeks after the arrests, police raided the Baton Rouge storage unit with a search warrant on Thursday and found the drugs wrapped up in trash bags, Slaton said. The bags contained Lortab, Oxycodone and a range of other narcotics and medications, he said.

More arrests may follow as the investigation develops.