Midmorning sweep leads to nine drug arrests

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 6, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / Febuary 6, 1999

NEW SARPY – Nine alleged street-level drug dealers, ranging in age from 14 to 40, were scooped up Thursday morning by the St. Charles Sheriff’sOffice.

Narcotics officers will usually sweep across the parish in predawn raids to make massive roundups, but this mid-morning raid targeted street dealers which made New Sarpy, in recent weeks, a drug supermarket.

“We’re constantly trying to do something different,” Sheriff Greg C. Champagne stated.

Arrested Thursday morning were: Claude Lewis, 19, 835 East MacAdoo, two counts distribution of cocaine. Jamon Miller, 17, 730 East Harding, distribution of cocaine. Darnell Joseph, 17, 734 East Easy, three counts distribution of cocaine. Jeffrey Miller, 40, 822 East MacAdoo, false representation. Donald Myles, 21, 738 East Easy, distribution of cocaine. Travis Sumlin, 19, 815 East Easy, two counts distribution of cocaine. John Ratcliff, 24, 239 Tinney St., Boutte, three counts distribution ofcocaine. A 16-year-old Destrehan male, distribution of marijuana. A 14-year-old New Sarpy male, distribution of cocaine.

Nineteen suspects were being sought, according to the sheriff.

Citizens and a local minister had complained to Champagne about stepped- up drug dealing in recent weeks in New Sarpy, especially around East MacAdoo, East Harding, Eighth and Ninth streets.

The dealers usually stood on street corners and made drug deals with passing motorists at all hours, especially on East Harding, a through street between River Road and Airline Highway, the sheriff learned.

Often, the sheriff said, motorists had to wait to pass as a drug transaction was going on right in front of them.

Champagne’s multi-faceted response began with “reversals,” where the real drug dealers were chased away and undercover officers pretending to be drug dealers took over the street corners to sting buyers.

However, Champagne added, the real dealers posted themselves at the perimeter of the area and warned off buyers, short-circuiting that notion, and only two or three arrests were made.

The sheriff then decided upon a daylight roundup for several reasons. Oneidea was to show the neighborhood a show of strength and placate the complaints.

The other reason was to make it easier on his personnel. “They always tryto change their tactics,” Champagne said of the drug dealers, “so we have to adapt, too.”Reaction from the neighbors as they watched suspected cocaine dealers being taken away was positive.

“Do what you gotta do!” Leona Patterson of MacAdoo Street said. “I’m glad!I’m very glad!” Desandra Rue said of East MacAdoo Street, “It’s not a good environment for young children. I wish something could be done!”Inside a prisoner van, one suspect shouted to passing reporters, “Write it all down, man. They trying to harass us!”

Return To News Stories