Tip leads to drug arrest

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2001


LAPLACE – A LaPlace man was booked with possession of cocaine Thursday night after someone gave St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s deputies a tip he was carrying drugs. Charles A. Stewart, 35, 2821 Cambridge Drive, LaPlace, was charged after deputies allegedly found six ounces of cocaine, or 172 grams, on him. Since 1984, Stewart has had four felony convictions that include burglary and firearm possession charges. Stewart has also been charged with simple battery, simple assault, resisting officers, damaging property, fugitive warrants, escape and parole violation. He has been arrested four times for narcotics violations and five times for resisting arrest and has had 68 other charges filed against him in St. John Parish. He has also been arrested in other parishes and states. According to authorities, Stewart was out on bond awaiting an April 30 trial on distribution charges after being videotaped allegedly trying to sell .47 grams of cocaine to an undercover police officer for $40. In that case Judge Sterling Snowdy set bond at $25,000. Those charges alone could get Stewart life in prison if convicted. Bond was set at $30,000 after Thursday’s arrest by Judge Madeline Jasmine, even though the amount of cocaine involved in this case was much greater than the amount involved in the previous case. Stewart’s arrest on Thursday came after a tip from a person being questioned in a narcotics investigation in the Reserve Oaks projects. Sheriff’s deputies stopped Stewart and found him in possession of powder cocaine. Stewart’s residence was also searched, but no drugs were found there. After his arrest, bond was set that evening. Stewart’s pending charges would normally get a five-year minimum sentence, but his prior convictions raised the maximum to life in prison. Thursday’s charges could bring a minimum of 10 years in prison. According to authorities, Stewart has a background of threatening police officers, as he has allegedly pointed firearms at deputies and verbally threatened police in the past. During one arrest, Stewart threw a bucket of water at an officer and threatened to later kill that officer, authorities said. Snowdy said he will have Stewart in drug court April 30 for the videotaped distribution charges. Snowdy said he was given a range of bond for certain offenses when he first began. “I often deviate from the suggested range depending on the crime,” he said. “Large amounts almost always go much higher. It also depends on the information that a judge is given when bond is being set. I recall times when I had to go back and set it higher. I don’t hesitate to do that if I learn new circumstances that I wasn’t given at the time.”