Two area residents busted in undercover narcotics operation

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2001


GARYVILLE – A Garyville man and a Vacherie man were recently arrested in Jefferson Parish for allegedly attempting to buy 10 kilograms of cocaine during a narcotics transaction in which they allegedly tried to purchase drugs from police. One of the suspects was identified by narcotics agents as a major narcotics distributor in the Garyville area. Ron Anthony Bardell, 28, 296 Church Street, Garyville, was arrested and booked with conspiracy to possess 10 kilograms of cocaine and possession of a firearm. Rhys Paul Harrison, 28, 3275 Harrison St., Vacherie, was also arrested, along with Ahmad Rashaad Trench of Metairie, both in the vehicle with Bardell when the bust took place. According to authorities, a cooperative investigation between the St. John Bureau of Narcotics, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration involving a criminal organization trafficking narcotics in Garyville began in September 2000. Bardell was suspected as being a part of that trafficking operation. Prior to the arrest of the three men, a semiautomatic handgun and $50,000 in cash were retrieved, said authorities. According to Capt. Mike Tregre of the St. John Sheriff’s Office, Harrison and Trench have been released for the time being and their cases are pending, though police would not release further information. Tregre said the drugs Bardell was attempting to buy were worth around $20,000 a kilogram. Bardell’s mother, Norma Bardell, owner of Bardell’s Grocery, said her son helps her with her business. “He’s a good father,” she said of her son, who has a 17-month-old boy. Norma Bardell said she does not believe her son is guilty. “I really think it was a set-up. St. John Parish has been trying to set him up,” she said, adding that her father recently passed away and left the family a lot of rental properties. “We have a lot of land to rent. I guess they don’t want black people to have that much stuff.” According to Norma Bardell, she found out about her son being arrested when police searched his house. “I’m OK with it because I know he’s a good person, and I know something just went wrong,” she said. Ron Bardell is being held in Orleans Parish Prison, and his mother said she hopes she would be able to post bail and get him out soon. He will be prosecuted in the Eastern District of Louisiana.