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‘Ready for a war’: Guns, drugs seized from Reserve home

RESERVE — There were enough weapons and guns found during a recent drug raid that led St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre to say it appeared two Reserve suspects were “ready for a war.”

Items recovered last week from 323 E. 27th St. included a Glock 22C 40-caliber handgun, three additional firearms, a bullet-proof vest, several boxes of ammunition and several handgun magazines.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies said the items were taken from Morris Joseph Lagrande, 24, and Mark Lagrande, 26, Thursday at the suspects’ Reserve home.

Morris Joseph Lagrande

Morris Joseph Lagrande

The arrests culminated more than a week of investigation that included “hours and hours” of surveillance following a tip from the community, Tregre said.

Numerous drug transactions were documented, Tregre said, adding the people conducting the drug transactions were often heavily armed.

Mark Lagrande

Mark Lagrande

“(The amount of guns) is above average,” Tregre said. “It was like they were getting ready for a war. They were as heavily armed as the law enforcement officers.”

The suspects told authorities they were trying to make extra money to feed their family.

“We’ve had a number of drug deals that go real bad and turn lethal in St. John Parish,” Tregre said. “They’re trying to feed their family, but at the same time they are putting their family at risk.”

The Special Ope-rations Division, which began the investigation, also determined Mark Lagrande and Morris Lagrande had prior arrests for drug and illegal weapons charges. Detectives also recovered approximately 180 grams of marijuana, MDMA tablets, seven bottles of Promethazine, five digital scales and baggies used for packaging material.

Throughout the surveillance, authorities witnessed numerous individuals, not necessarily tied to the guns and drugs, at a location where they were not supposed to be spending time.

“We’re working with probation and parole, and those individuals are going to be spending Christmas with us,” Tregre said.

Morris Lagrande was booked with four counts of illegal carrying of a weapon with controlled dangerous substance, illegal possession of stolen firearm, sale of legend drug without prescription, possession of Schedule 1 CDS, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession or distribution of drug paraphernalia.

He is being held in lieu of a $229,000 bond.

Mark Lagrande was booked with four counts of illegal carrying of weapons, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal carrying of weapon with controlled dangerous substance, sale of legend drug without prescription, possession of Schedule 1 CDS, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He is being held in lieu of a $239,169.50 bond.