A six-month undercover drug investigation in Plaquemines Parish has led to the arrest of nearly 20 suspected street-level drug dealers and their suspected mid-level suppliers, the Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
“Operation Crackdown,” which initially focused on crack-cocaine sales, resulted in undercover agents buying illegal drugs from the suspects between February and August throughout the parish’s west bank, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Illegal drugs purchased or seized during the investigation included about a half-pound of cocaine, 18 pounds of marijuana or synthetic marijuana and several dosage units of oxycontin, tizanidine and alprazolam, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cmdr. Eric Becnel said.
During the investigation, detectives executed five residential search warrants for narcotics and firearms violations that resulted in the seizure of 12 firearms, nearly $9,500 in cash, cellphones, computers, computer-related equipment and one vehicle.
Also during the course of the operation, one of the suspects allegedly offered an undercover agent sexual intercourse in exchange for cash.
Detectives began to round up the suspects Sept. 2.
All of the suspects except one have been arrested. The last defendant, Stephen Boling, has been located in Houston and has made arrangements to surrender to authorities.
The 20 suspects and charges they face are:
Sandra Bartholomew, 51, distribution of crack cocaine; Stephen “Project” Boling, 26, distribution of oxycodone; Chance Chelette, 29, distribution of marijuana and distribution of oxycodone; Alfred “Baby Boy” Eason, 46, distribution of tizanidine; Dimitri Gagliano, 18, distribution of marijuana; Inge Judd, 36, distribution of alprazolam, attempted distribution of crack-cocaine, theft and prostitution; and Travis Riley, 31, distribution of crack cocaine.
Also, Jehad “Jimmy” Saleh, 25, distribution of synthetic marijuana; Rayshoun “Heedy” Smith, 29, distribution of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia; Carl Stewart Jr., 45, distribution of marijuana; and Michael Taylor, 42, distribution of marijuana.
Also, Myron “Face” Turner, 34, distribution of crack-cocaine; Albert “AJ” Vereen Jr., 33, distribution of crack-cocaine; Demond Williams, 34, distribution of crack-cocaine; and Ernestine Sellers, 40, distribution of crack-cocaine.
Also, Joseph Williamson, 25, distribution of crack-cocaine; Patrick Dugan Jr., 22, possession of marijuana, possession of firearms with a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia; Melvin Riley III, 34, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance; Steven Turner, 51, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and Tommie Leonard, 56, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
“I have a zero tolerance when it comes to illegal drugs, especially drug dealers,” Sheriff Lonnie Greco said. “Those individuals who sell or possess illegal narcotics will be found and arrested. We are working hand in hand with our District Attorney’s Office to ensure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”