DeSoto teaching jobs get 1,000 applicants

MANSFIELD — More than 1,000 people have applied in recent months for a handful of available teaching jobs in the DeSoto Parish school system.

“We have more applications than we know what to do with,” schools Superintendent Walter Lee said.

DeSoto Parish is the highest-paying school system in the state. Beginning teacher pay tops $50,000.

Teachers — and all other school system employees — have received raises totaling $4,500 during the past two years, along with thousands in supplement checks funded by excess sales tax revenue generated by the Haynesville Shale natural gas development.

Destrehan women named in tax fraud

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Justice Department is suing to bar a Destrehan woman and her daughter from preparing federal tax returns.

A federal lawsuit filed Friday in New Orleans claims Cathy Vinnett and her daughter, Lashanda Vinnett, both of Destrehan, prepared tax returns with bogus refund claims that have cost the government up to $2.2 million.

The two women allegedly kept most of the refund money for themselves without telling customers.

The government says tax returns prepared by the Vinnetts made fraudulent claims for telephone excise tax credits, earned income tax credits and first-time homebuyer tax credits.

The companies they operate include M&C Tax Service, D&C Tax Service, River Parish Tax Professionals and Remarkable Tax Services.

Bust of copper theft ring nets 9 suspects

BELLE CHASSE — Plaquemines Parish authorities have made nine arrests in connection with a bistate copper theft ring that sold nearly $360,000 worth of the metal during a 20-month period.

Sheriff Jiff Hingle said eight of the suspects are from Mississippi. Hingle said the theft occurred on the east bank of the parish in areas accessible only by boat. The sheriff said sales of the stolen copper brought in $357,702.

Merchant arrested on drug, gun charges

CROWLEY — The owner of a Crowley convenience store is accused of selling drugs illegally.

Police said that during a six-month investigation, agents were able to purchase Mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant, from the store. A search warrant was obtained Wednesday.

Police said that during the search, they uncovered Mephedrone, synthetic marijuana and a firearm behind the counter.

Agents then arrested Walter Jamal Jacoub, 59, and booked him with distribution, possession with intent to distribute and having a firearm with controlled substances.