Bond is denied as Pittman faces federal drug trial
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 24, 2005
By JESSICA DAIGLE
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has decided to deny bond to Lutcher Chief of Police Corey Pittman on Friday, after he was arrested for allegedly selling crack cocaine to undercover agents.
U. S. Magistrate Judge Louis Moore Jr., during a detention hearing in New Orleans on Friday, ruled Pittman remanded without bail and placed him in the custody of U.S. marshals.
Pittman was arrested after federal agents said he sold more than $5,000 worth of crack cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride, and the prescription drug hydrocodone to a DEA agent during a three-month sting operation.
According to U. S. Attorney Jim Letten, Pittman will soon stand in front of a grand jury to determine if he will be indicted.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office had said from the initial time of his arrest they would attempt to detain Pittman until his trial, and Letten said the office requested he be held on the grounds that he is a danger to society.
“The fact that he distributed these drugs on five separate incidents and because he is a law enforcement official constitutes a danger,” Letten said, “The court based the decision upon that argument and he agreed (Pittman) should be held.”
It is the office’s hope and intent that Pitman will be indicted very soon, Letten said.
Pittman was lured last week to St. Charles Parish by officials under the belief he was going to a meeting to discuss a pending arrest in his jurisdiction. Instead, he was arrested and booked with five counts of distribution of illegal substances.
According to a criminal complaint from the United States District Court, Pittman exchanged drugs for cash with the agent on four separate incidents, at locations in St. James and St. John parishes. One exchange took place in front of Garyville/ Mt. Airy Magnet School.
Officials said Pittman made no effort to hide his position during the meetings, discussing his department and wearing clothes typically related to law enforcement.
The affidavit filed by the DEA agent said Pittman sold approximately five ounces of crack cocaine, one ounce of cocaine hydrochloride, and 40 tablets of hydrocodone.
Pittman, 29, Lutcher’s youngest elected police chief, admitted he was involved in drugs in the past.
In an article for the local newspaper, dated March 2003, he said police officers had a big hand in helping him turn away from the “dirty money” of drugs.
The small community of Lutcher has expressed shock over the arrest, with some citizens commenting that they thought Pittman, who is married with children, was a professional and upstanding chief of police.
However, in recent days, people have also said they heard rumors before the arrest that Pittman had never stopped his involvement in drugs.
In the absence of a police chief, Lutcher Mayor Troas Poche had said on local news channels he would look into the legalities of taking over the post until further decisions, or an election.
Elected officials have to either resign or be convicted of a felony to leave their post. Calls made to the mayor were not returned.