Dangerous ‘mojo’ part of large Garyville drug seizure

Published 1:14 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014

By Monique Roth

GARYVILLE — Mojo, marijuana, ecstacy, Xanax and more illegal drugs were confiscated in St. John Parish last week in a remarkable seizure that authorities said took more than $400,000 of street-value narcotics out of local circulation.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Richard Dubus said for a parish as small as St. John, the drug seizure marks a major victory for law enforcement.

“You don’t often get large cases like this,” he said.

Dubus said mojo, a synthetic marijuana, is made up of vegetable matter that is sprayed with various compounds of chemicals. He said it is so dangerous because buyers never really know what they are getting since it is not a plant like marijuana.

The hallucinogenic qualities mojo can sometime cause, Dubus said, prompts many users to rush to the emergency room. He said affects of the drug vary greatly from person to person.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said during the parish’s Independence Day celebration, several residents told him about the heavy drug traffic around the Cranberry Street area in Garyville, adding he was pleased with his detectives’ work on the case.

He urged residents to continue to provide his office with tips and information about all local crime, including drugs.

Lt. Chip Wale said drug activity “feeds a negative, underground network that couldn’t survive without cash flow,” and many negative societal issues stem from drug activity.

Dubus agreed, saying combating drugs is increasingly important because the money involved in the drug trade breeds violent crime and creates dangerous, desperate addicts. The more than $400,000 worth of drugs were confiscated and two people arrested Thursday night after authorities said a local drug dealer was robbed at gunpoint in his own home.

Brandon Clark and Kristen Johnson, who live together in the 100 block of Cranberry Street in Garyville, were each booked with possession with intent to distribute synthetic marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute MDMA, possession or distribution of drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to distribute Xanax, possession of schedule V CDS and sale, distribution or possession of a legend drug without a prescription. Clark was also booked on an outstanding contempt of court warrant.

The case began when St. John the Baptist Parish deputies responded to the 100 block of Cranberry Street at 11:18 p.m. following the report of a home invasion.

Clark, 34, told deputies an unknown man forced his way into his residence, and when Johnson, 33, saw the perpetrator had a gun, she locked herself in the bathroom and called authorities.

Authorities said the suspect, who was masked and wore all black clothing, fired one shot that struck no one before fleeing the residence on foot. The suspect got away with cash and a cell phone.

Authorities said Clark, who is bound to a wheelchair, told detectives he sells mojo from the residence and that he had some in the residence.

During the subsequent search of the house, detectives recovered approximately 21 pounds of mojo, 54 grams of marijuana, 107 doses of ecstacy, 40 Xanax pills, legend drugs and drug paraphernalia used to facilitate the sale of illegal narcotics.

Clark and Johnson remain in custody, with Judge Sterling Snowdy setting Clark’s bond at $149,150 and Johnson’s bond at $149,000.

Tregre said there are no identified suspects in the robbery.

Anyone with information regarding the home invasion is encouraged to call the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office TIPS line at 985-359-TIPS or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.