Son drugged, father shoots dealer suspect

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2004

By LEONARD GRAY – Managing Editor

DESTREHAN – St. Charles Parish sheriff’s detectives suggested Friday that an angry father shot and tried to kill the Destrehan man who police suspect gave a toxic substance to his son and two of his son’s friends.

Chief Deputy Joseph Cardella said Ricky L. Pate Sr., 45, of Melville, shot A. Joseph Iglesias, 24, of 124 Dunleith Drive, on Friday afternoon. That same day, Pate was charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Cardella said that on June 3 at about 2:15 a.m., neighbors on Dunleith Drive reported three teenage boys on the street, apparently hallucinating and under the influence of some sort of drug.

“They were on the street, acting incoherently and hallicinating,” Cardella said.

Two of the boys, ages 15 and 16, were taken to hospitals in the area, while a third boy was released to his parents.

On Friday at 12:40 p.m., Pate went to the rear apartment over the garage at 124 Dunleith Drive and, police said, shot Iglesias in the chest with a .380 semiautomatic handgun.

Iglesias survived surgery at St. Charles Parish Hospital in Luling and is in stable condition. After release,

Both Pate and neighbors notified authorities as to the shooting, and Pate surrendered without incident.

Cardella said Pate was the father of one of the hospitalized boys, all of whom reported ingested the drug while in Iglesias’s apartment.

It was determined through questioning that the boys had ingested a substance boiled down from angel’s trumpet, a flowering plant common to Louisiana gardens. The boiled-down plant had been added to a soft drink and drunk by the boys.

Cardella continued that the investigation is continuing and a determination will be made whether to charge Iglesias with administering a toxic substance. The angel’s trumpet plant is not an illegal drug, but Cardella said it was “a highly-toxic dangerous substance which can cause a medical problem.”

A similar incident occurred during the previous week in Kenner, authorities added, where three teenagers ingested the substance, one of them in a near-coma from overdosing. All three were hospitalized and have since been released.

“Parents need to become aware of what their kids are doing and who they’re doing it with,” Maj. Sam Zinna, chief of investigations, added.