St. Charles cops use Web to net seven

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – Investigators from the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office used a 30-second video posted on an Internet community web site to nab seven Destrehan individuals who were allegedly involved in a retaliation plot against another suspect, said Sheriff Greg Champagne.

At a news conference Thursday, Champagne said Larry Banks, 18, 235 Meadows Dr., and Joshua Riley, 27, 248 Meadows Dr., Destrehan, were booked with criminal conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after the men posted a video of themselves on a profile page in the Myspace internet community. The profanity-laden video emphasized their plans to kill an unidentified individual whom they claimed to be a police informant.

The video showed the two men brandishing weapons and discussing their plans to shoot the individual and any “St. Charles Parish cops” who tried to stop them. Champagne said the video was shot right outside Banks’ home.

The Sheriff said that detectives came across the video while using Myspace to investigate an unrelated incident. He said his deputies acted quickly to identify the individuals and apprehend them.

“A search of the home, which was conducted Tuesday, turned up guns, narcotics and other drug paraphernalia,” said Champagne. “Our deputies were in the process of searching the home when a vehicle pulled up to the address containing other individuals involved in the incident. I credit our deputies, who acted quickly to make the arrests.”

Others arrested in the investigation include Michael Harris, 18, 254 Meadows Dr., Destrehan; Johnell Mott, 19, 208 Ormond Village Dr., Destrehan; David Lee Isaac III, 19, 244 Meadows Dr., Destrehan; Nedra Dabney, 45, 235 Meadows Dr., Destrehan and Larry Dabney, 50, 235 Meadows Dr., Destrehan. The individuals were taken into custody on an assortment of charges ranging from possession of drugs to possession of stolen firearms.

Champagne said this investigation has made him think twice about how his deputies may be able to use Myspace in their investigations.

“I personally had heard of Myspace, but thought it was just a tool for kids,” said Champagne. “I don’t think parents realize the material that people can post on their pages, and they should definitely be more vigilant of their children’s usage. I know that in the future, any opportunity we have to use the site to aid in an investigation, we will use it.”

Chief Detective Sam Zinna said investigators have not been able to locate the SKS assault rifle shown in the video, and said detectives are still investigating where it might be. He said the home is one of many small apartments and Section 8 housing locations in the Meadows Drive area, which has seen an increase in crime in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Zinna said that the sheriff’s office has contacted Myspace management to inform them of the criminal activity contained on the offending page. He said the site managers are working to disable Banks’ profile page and remove the video from the Internet.