Ex-Public Works employee pleads in drugs, theft cases

Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 9, 2015

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — A former employee of the St. John the Baptist Parish’s Public Works Department — arrested in March on misdemeanor charges of pawning parish-owned tools for cash — pleaded guilty to an unrelated felony charge and in turn had his misdemeanor charges dropped.

Andre Swafford, 44, of Yorktowne Drive in LaPlace pleaded guilty to the felony charge of possession of cocaine Dec. 1 and was given five years active probation in lieu of jail time. His misdemeanor charges were dropped in consideration of him taking the plea, according to court minutes.

Swafford said Thursday he is looking forward to the future and getting back on track with his career.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives received information last spring that prompted an investigation, where they alleged Swafford used Public Works’ power tools for transactions to secure cash loans on Dec. 23, 2013, and Jan. 10, 2014, at a LaPlace pawnshop.

Swafford was arrested March 10 and booked with three counts of unauthorized use of a movable.

He bonded out of jail on a $7,500 bond.

Swafford was arrested April 25 and charged with possession of cocaine — a felony— and violation of a drug-free zone as a result of a traffic stop within 2,000 feet of Fifth Ward Elementary School by St. John Parish deputies.