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Baton Rouge Police

After he was arrested twice in recent months and accused of stealing drugs from the evidence room, a narcotics detective resigned Monday from the Baton Rouge Police Department, though his alleged misdeeds remain central to an ongoing corruption probe. 

Cpl. Jason Acree had been placed on administrative leave immediately following his first arrest in February, but he chose to resign from the department amid an ongoing corruption investigation focused largely on his actions and the alleged complicity of his supervisors.

A police spokesman confirmed the resignation Tuesday but offered no additional details.

Acree, 34, is the second narcotics detective to recently quit the department. Jeremiah Ardoin, who was arrested in December and issued a misdemeanor summons for allegedly buying stolen property, stepped down last week. 

Ardoin was largely responsible for the ongoing corruption probe. While under criminal investigation himself, Ardoin accused Acree and other detectives of more serious misconduct, alleging that narcotics officers routinely stopped and searched Black people without probable cause, planted drugs on suspects and coerced prostitutes into setting up drug dealers, according to a memo he wrote that was provided to department leadership.

The memo included specific accusations about Acree taking marijuana from the evidence room and giving it to his friend. Those accusations were corroborated in both arrest warrants describing the cases against him. 

He was initially booked into jail on possession with intent to distribute and malfeasance in office. He quickly posted bail but was booked again weeks later when investigators sought to add an obstruction of justice charge.

In the second arrest warrant, investigators presented more details about the stolen drugs, including that several THC vape pens were missing from the evidence storage after being documented during a criminal investigation.

Detectives searched the home of the friend, who later admitted to police that Acree had brought him marijuana and THC vape pens on several occasions for his personal use, according to the warrant. The friend said he knew Acree was a narcotics officer but was unaware where the drugs were coming from.

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Not long after Acree was arrested the first time, BRPD leadership transferred four narcotics supervisors to street patrols, effectively cutting the division in half, removing its leadership and suspending normal operations.

East Baton Rouge prosecutors have already dropped more than 100 pending cases that hinged on testimony from the two arrested officers. The vast majority involved Acree.

The sheer number of dropped charges also raised questions about whether some detectives were focusing on achieving a high volume of low-level drug arrests, rather than conducting large-scale drug trafficking investigations and bringing charges against the small group of dealers running the show.

Chief Murphy Paul said last month that he assigned investigators to audit the entire narcotics division. He said some changes are on the horizon but declined to elaborate.

A third narcotics officer was placed on leave some weeks ago: Cpl. Jacob Cowart is under criminal investigation. Officials have released few details about the case, though sources said it involved alleged mishandling of evidence. Cowart was relatively new to the narcotics division. 

Acree had served with the department for about 12 years. 

BRPD leaders have not provided a timeline for completion of their audit, and have declined to comment on whether additional arrests or discipline are expected.


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.