Police arrest two for drug trafficking

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

By LEONARD GRAY-Staff Reporter

RESERVE – Two Vietnamese brothers were apprehended Thursday at a New Sarpy convenience store and charged with marijuana drug trafficking in Reserve.

Hai Thanh Cao, 21, and Lang T. Cao, 17, both of 105 Lakewood Drive, LaPlace, were working in the family store, C&T Restaurant and Grocery, located at 1170 River Road, between East Ninth and East 10th streets.

The elder brother was charged with three counts of distribution of marijuana, while the younger was charged with one count.

According to Commander of Narcotics Division for the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office, Octavio Gonzalez, the arrests capped an undercover investigation handled between December and February. Neighborhood complaints led to the launching of the investigation.

However, Gonzalez continued, investigators believe the rest of the family were unaware of the illegal transactions. Next to the front door was a window sticker, stating the owners supported the Fraternal Order of Police.

Even so, the store was also undergoing a compliance check with the state Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. The parish occupational license of the store could also be in jeopardy, Sheriff Wayne L. Jones added.

Gonzalez said that the brothers would handle the drug sales over the main counter, even providing handy brown-paper bags for the purchases. Other customers seeking greater quantities received their drugs behind the store.

The narcotics agents made four quick and easy purchases, and also conducted video surveillance of the premises to capture evidence of drug trafficking on tape.

Bond was set for Hai Cao at $50,000 and for Lang Cao at $10,000, both bonds set by 40th Judicial District Judge Mary Hotard Becnel.