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Big Easy drug dealing suspected, police say

RESERVE — Local and state authorities raided a Reserve convenience store last week, charging one of the employees with using the location as a drug-dealing hot spot.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division detectives and Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control officers executed a search and seizure warrant Aug. 2 at Big Easy Food Mart, 1126 River Road in Reserve. The police action resulted in the arrest of Willie McGee Jr., 42, of Reserve. He is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and violation of uniform controlled dangerous substance law/Drug Free Zone.

“Through an investigation that began in June, the SJSO Special Operations Division detectives discovered that Big Easy Food Mart in Reserve, which is 300 feet south of the Reserve Housing Project, a Drug Free Zone, was being used by McGee, an employee of the store, as a distribution site for selling marijuana, synthetic marijuana and illegal narcotics,” a Sheriff’s Office release said.

Detectives obtained a warrant July 27 and notified Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control before executing the search, which included the recovery of four plastic bags containing approximately 33.4 grams of marijuana, authorities said.

“Searching the business, detectives seized 20 clear plastic bags containing synthetic marijuana packaged for sale, with a total estimated weight of 40 grams, and two boxes of plastic sandwich bags,” a release said.

McGee is being held in custody in lieu of a $52,500 bond.

St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre said although McGee took responsibility for the drugs, the store’s owners may be facing charges.

“They are being investigated by numerous other agencies,” Tregre said.