Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – An early morning raid of a Reserve home by agents with the St. John Bureau of Narcotics Investigation (BNI) led to the arrest of nine people involved in drug trafficking, dog fighting and money laundering, said a spokesperson for the department.

Graham Saturley, a narcotics investigator with St. John BNI, said the drug bust was executed at a home in the 100 block of Northwest 12th Street. Saturley said upon arrival, his agents recovered nine pounds of marijuana, ten ounces of cocaine, and one bottle of a prescription drug containing codeine. The drugs have a street value of about $70,000.

Three firearms, assorted drug paraphernalia and $10,000 in cash were also recovered from the home, along with 13 pit-bull terriers that were bred and trained for illegal dog fighting. The dogs were taken by St. John animal control, and will be put to sleep.

Saturley said his agency had been monitoring activity at the home since November after confidential sources and neighborhood residents filed complaints about the home. He said deputies initially believed the residents were operating a street level drug enterprise, but further investigation showed that the group had been involved in money laundering, dog fighting, and even music production. He said the individuals involved were a small group of family and friends, some with ties to a criminal street gang operating in Reserve.

Arrested in the raid were Kendall Jackson, Patricia Jackson, Joyce Richards, Tjaden Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Raven Jackson, Hazel Griffith, Keeara Gardner, and Kanniakell Williams. Saturley said all nine were charged with a laundry list of offenses including possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, possession of firearms by a convicted felon, possession of drugs in a school zone, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession and training of dogs for illegal fighting. The group was booked into the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace, where they remain detained on bonds of $900,000 to $1 million.

Saturley said the individuals also have the possibility of facing a series of federal charges based on the amount of drugs confiscated, the weapons involved, and the criminal history of those arrested. He said special agents with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration are looking into the case. He is optimistic that they will peruse the charges. Saturley said this would be the sixth case since 2005 that would involve a federal crackdown on repeat offenders in St. John Parish.

“We are doing everything we can to get the federal government in here to help clean up this problem,” said Saturley. “This will not go on in this parish.”

Saturley said this was not the first time this particular home has been the subject of a drug related raid. Sheriff’s deputies made a similar bust in August of 1998 that netted many of the same individuals involved. The raid led to the arrest and conviction of Kendall Jackson, Patricia Jackson, and Joyce Jackson Richards. Kendall Jackson had just been released from his prison term before being arrested again in this most recent raid.

Saturley said his investigation targeted several individuals involved in a continuing criminal drug enterprise operating in the Dutch Bayou area of Reserve. His operation received a boost with the January 16, 2008 arrest of Darryl Taylor. Saturley explained that Taylor and Kenall Jackson are tied to the criminal street gang known as “Black Independent Gangster,” an organization that, Saturley says, has been involved with drug distribution, money laundering, and music production. A recent music video produced by the organization recently surfaced, and features Kendell Jackson, Taylor, and others using and promoting the use of illegal narcotics. Saturley said these arrests are the first of several steps to be taken by the St. John Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration into eradicating the organization completely.