Alleged drug dealer set for trial

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2001


HAHNVILLE – Alleged drug kingpin Delwin Simmons is scheduled for trial July 18 on drug racketeering charges. Simmons, 25, and the drug operation he is charged with running in Des Allemands for several years, was nabbed in a massive drug bust on Feb. 11, 2000. In a unique effort, the operation was the first use of a state RICO (racketeering influence and corrupt organizations) statute, applying it to a drug organization. Dozens of various types of firearms, drugs, drug paraphernalia and a significant amount of cash were seized as evidence and dozens of people were arrested in the sweep. Numerous vans were filled with the evidence as it was recently hauled to the St. Charles Parish Courthouse in Hahnville and placed in storage. St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg C. Champagne called the Simmons group “the biggest drug organization in the parish.” Since the arrests, other suspects pled guilty to possession and distribution charges, according to Kurt Sins, assistant to 29th Judicial District Attorney Harry Morel. Only Simmons remains to stand trial. If convicted on all counts, Simmons could spend the remainder of his life in prison. He was arrested for racketeering, possession of marijuana and cocaine and distribution of cocaine. The sheriff’s office, working with the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office, made use of a RICO statute normally used against a business or a corporation, according to Champagne. Simmons’ home on Old Spanish Trail in Des Allemands was one of four residences allegedly used by the organization. A two-year undercover operation resulted in the arrests and since then, Champagne has said, the illicit drug trade in the area has slowed to a crawl, crippled by the huge crackdown on the Simmons organization. Law enforcement officials representing St. Charles and Lafourche parishes, as well as State Police troopers and soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard, participated in the operation.