Seven arrested in crack lab shutdowns

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 11, 1999

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / October 11, 1999

RESERVE- In less than four days, law enforcement officials have shut down two illegal laboratories in St. John Parish that were manufacturingcrystal methamphetamine, otherwise known as speed or crank.

Seven people have been arrested and charged with possession and intent to distribute crystal methamphetamine.

In the first case, St. John Parish Sheriff’s deputies, acting on informationgathered in another drug arrest, had two individuals under surveillance.

With the cooperation of federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the two suspects were observed on Sunday evening transferring large quantities of chemicals into an abandoned trailer located on Dave Street in Reserve.

Leo Bayard, 26, 208 Hollywood Park, Montz, and Benny Terry Jr., 40, of18473 Nelson Road, Covington, were detained by police and an undetermined amount of methamphetamine was reportedly found on them, plus they were allegedly in possession of chemicals used in the manufacturing process of the drug.

DEA agents and chemists searched the trailer and, police reported, that they found the makings of a lab inside. They also searched Terry’sresidence in Covington and found another methamphetamine lab and chemicals.

Capt. Michael Tregre of the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office said, “Thesechemicals are very hazardous to the community, and DEA chemists had to enter the building with protective clothing in order to dismantle the labs.” Bayard has been identified as the head of a narcotics organization responsible for the manufacture and distribution of crystal methamphetamine in St. John Parish.Parish authorities also said this was the first clandestine lab ever to be located and seized in St. John Parish. The DEA said that this is only thesecond lab of its kind seized in the New Orleans metro area in the past six years. The labs are quick to set up and tear down. Methamphetamine is asynthetic stimulant that is made with Sudafed, drain cleaner and paint thinner.

Both Bayard and Terry are being held without bond in New Orleans by federal authorities, and the case has been turned over to U.S. AttorneyEddie Jordan.

In the second case, St. John Sheriff’s deputies received an anonymousphone call on Tuesday afternoon about illegal drugs being manufactured in the Cambridge subdivision.

Members of the Narcotics Bureau got a warrant and raided a house at 629 LaSalle St. at 11 p.m. Tuesday.Inside, officers reportedly found five people making methamphetamine.

“They were cooking the stuff on the stove, ” said Lt. Octavio Gonzalez,head of the St. John Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau.Tregre said, “They were in the process of producing one and a half to two ounces of methamphetamine.”An ounce of crystal methamphetamine goes for $2,000 on the street.

The five people were arrested and the house sealed until DEA chemists could come in and determine exactly how much methamphetamine was in the house and also to clear out all the dangerous chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

Arrested were Brandy Shexnayder, 19, 629 LaSalle St., LaPlace; KevinHoffman, 47, 629 LaSalle St., LaPlace; Buddy Williams, 19, 514 Cedar St.,LaPlace; Mark Lear, 32, 2421 Cambridge Drive, LaPlace and Steven Calim, 37, 120 Robinwood St., Sidney, Ohio.All suspects were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of ephedrine and possession with intent to distribute Schedule II drugs, or methamphetamine. Calim was also charged with possession ofmarijuana and as a fugitive from Texas and Ohio. All five are being heldon $60,000 bond in the St. John Parish jail.”Chances are that the DEA will take over the case,” Tregre said.

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