POSSIBLE STOLEN 4-WHEELER CRASHES
On July 30, the operator of a possible stolen 4-wheeler led a Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Patrol Lieutenant on a chase before being apprehended after he crashed the 4-wheeler on Sol Hart Road in rural Washington Parish north of Franklinton.
The Lieutenant encountered the 4-wheeler being driven on Highway 430 and began the pursuit. The driver failed to yield and turned west on Jamieson Creek Road and then south on Sol Hart Road. While traveling at an excessive speed on Sol Hart Road, the 4-wheeler almost collided with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction before crashing when the operator failed to negotiate a curve on the gravel road. He was not injured and was quickly apprehended.
Christian Martinique Gordon, 18, a resident of Emma Hart Road, and the operator of the 4-wheeler, was arrested and booked into the Washington Parish Jail charged with operating an off-road vehicle on a public highway, aggravated flight from an officer, no driver’s license and no license plate. He was released from jail the same day after posting a $10,000 bond.
It is suspected that the 4-wheeler had been stolen, since a portion of the vehicle identification number had been destroyed. Likely, that is why Gordon fled. The 4-wheeler is identified as a Red Honda Rancher 420. If any person can identify the 4-wheeler as their stolen property, they are asked to contact Detective Captain Tom Anderson at (985) 839-3434, extension 2059.
“Louisiana law is specific that off-road vehicles may not be operated on a public road except under very specific farm-related circumstances,” said Sheriff Randy Seal. “The danger to the operator is obvious. I am so pleased that our Lieutenant was able to apprehend the operator and recover this likely stolen vehicle.”
LOCAL MEN ARRESTED FOR NEW ORLEANS THEFTS
Recently, a construction company reported the theft of a dump truck and Bobcat skid steer from a construction site in New Orleans. The owner of the stolen equipment was able to trace it to a rural area of Washington Parish due to a GPS tracking device installed on the equipment.
The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office was alerted to the crime and detectives responded to the reported location of the stolen dump truck. Washington Parish detectives assigned to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force encountered the stolen dump truck in the Mt. Hermon community and gave chase when the driver refused to stop. The dump truck turned onto Union Chapel Road, then suddenly stopped. When detectives began to exit their vehicle, the dump truck driver put the truck in reverse and rammed the detectives’ vehicle, pushing it 21 feet off of the roadway and damaging the vehicle. The dump truck driver then exited the stolen truck and fled on foot into nearby woods.
All available officers responded to the scene along with a canine tracking team from Rayburn Correctional Center. The canines were able to quickly locate the fleeing subject who has been identified as Zarius Jawone Brown, 31, a resident of Williams Street in Franklinton. Brown was booked into the Washington Parish Jail charged with attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault with a vehicle on an officer, resisting arrest, possession of stolen property, criminal damage and two counts of failure to honor a written promise. He remains in the Washington Parish Jail with his bond set at $234,000.
Detectives then went to the GPS identified location of the stolen Bobcat skid steer and recovered it along with a second skid steer which also had been stolen out of New Orleans. At that time, Lindsey Daniels, 45, a resident of Jenkins Road north of Franklinton, was arrested and charged with two counts of stolen property. He remains in the Washington Parish Jail with his bond set at $5,000.
Both men have previously been in the Washington Parish Jail. On two previous occasions, Brown was jailed for being a fugitive from another jurisdiction and contempt of court. Daniels was in the Washington Parish Jail for a previous charge of simple battery.
“The owner of the stolen equipment was wise to install the GPS tracking device,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “The thieves obviously were unaware of the implanted device and likely felt the stolen items could be concealed in rural Washington Parish and not be discovered. They were wrong. Our detectives did an excellent job apprehending Brown and Daniels and recovering the stolen items. I am so grateful that none of our officers were injured when Brown rammed their vehicle and I am grateful to Warden Tanner and his staff from Rayburn Correctional Center for their valuable assistance.”
BOGALUSA MAN ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES
On July 11, detectives assigned to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force assisted Probation and Parole agents with a residence check on Mercedes Street in Bogalusa. During the course of the residence check, Drug Task Force detectives obtained a search warrant for a vehicle parked in the driveway. During the search of the vehicle, detectives discovered a significant quantity of illegal drugs, a semi-automatic .40 caliber pistol and a significant amount of cash.
Ja’Vontay Owens, a resident of the Mercedes Street address, was arrested and transported to the Washington Parish Jail. He was booked on numerous charges, including possession with intent to distribute Schedule 1, Schedule 2 and Schedule 4 drugs, possession of marijuana, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, convicted felon in possession of a firearm and failure to honor a written promise. Owens remains in the Washington Parish Jail with his bond set at $200,150.
“One more drug dealer off of our streets,” said Sheriff Randy Seal. “These folks just don’t seem to understand that drug dealing is a one way street to jail. We may not catch them today, but we will catch them tomorrow or one day in the near future. Drug dealers should keep looking over their shoulders, because the footsteps they hear are our officers.”
REAL ESTATE SCAM LANDS ST. TAMMANY MAN IN JAIL
Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives investigated complaints of land sales on social media websites and Craigslist by a person who did not own the listed property. After a thorough investigation, detectives arrested Ryan Skler Crain, 29, a resident of Lam Road in Covington. Crain was placed in the Washington Parish Jail charged with multiple counts of theft. He remains in jail with his bond set at $3,250.
Crain impersonated various land owners and provided sales documents that appeared to be legitimate. The purchasers learned of the cam after contacting the Washington Parish Clerk of Court and obtaining facts about the land which was not in Crain’s name and was not for sale. As it turned out, Crain’s story that he was a military veteran was also false.
The investigation was hampered by the fact that Crain used different aliases to commit his crimes. In addition to his actual name, Crain also used the names of Eddie Morris, Edward Stride and Edward Stang. That, plus the fact that he was a resident of St. Tammany Parish, but committed his crimes in Washington Parish, made the investigation more difficult. Detectives persevered, though, and were able to identify, locate and arrest Crain.
In addition to Crain’s three victims, it is suspected that there may be other victims. If any other persons have been victimized by Crain, they are asked to contact Detective Captain Tom Anderson at (985) 839-3434, extension 2059.
Sheriff Randy Seal commented. “This scoundrel thought he was being coy and covering his tracks with the use of various aliases. It slowed us down for a while, but our detectives never gave up and eventually sorted out all of the details, identified Crain, and made the arrest. Good job, detectives and thank you, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, for helping us locate Crain.”
CELL PHONE PURCHASED WITH COUNTERFEIT MONEY
A Washington Parish resident used a Facebook site to advertise a cell phone which was offered for sale. Byron Louis Jackson, 25, a resident of the 900 block of Avenue F in Bogalusa, messaged back that he would like to purchase the phone.
Jackson wanted to meet in a residential area, but the seller wisely insisted on meeting in a public location. When Jackson and the seller met, Jackson gave the seller a folded up $100 bill in exchange for the phone. Jackson then quickly got in his vehicle and drove off as the seller was trying to get him to stop.
Suspecting the $100 bill was counterfeit, the seller contacted the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office. Detectives confirmed the $100 bill was counterfeit and received assistance from the Bogalusa Police Department to locate Jackson.
Jackson was arrested and placed in the Washington Parish Jail on July 10, charged with theft and abuse of a monetary instrument. He was released the following day after posting a $5,000 bond.
Sheriff Randy Seal cautions anyone selling or purchasing any item using social media. “Never agree to meet someone you do not know in a private location. You may not know their actual intent and it could be a ruse to commit a crime. Always insist on a public location where others will be present. As the old saying goes, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Good job, detectives, in locating and arresting Jackson.”
SHERIFF SEAL RECOGNIZES CORRECTIONS DEPUTY OF THE QUARTER
Lt. Jennifer Barber has been recognized as the Corrections Deputy of the Quarter for the Washington Parish Jail. Barber was selected by a vote of jail deputies and recommended for the award by Chief of Corrections Jim Miller.
Sheriff Randy Seal presented Lt. Barber with her recognition plaque, stating, “Lt. Barber is an outstanding employee who does an excellent job. Her good work is a testimony to her character and integrity. I am so pleased to have her as a member of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office family. Thank you, Jennifer, for all you do.
THIEVES ARRESTED ON HIGHWAY 60
On July 7, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies Sgt. David Cupp and Roy Scroggs responded to a concerned neighbor’s report of a suspicious vehicle at a residence on Highway 60. Upon arriving at the residence, the officers noticed a Toyota sports utility vehicle with a trailer attached backed up to the garage of the residence. Three men were loading scrap metal into the vehicle.
When confronted by the deputies, the men stated they had permission from the owner but could not remember the owner’s name. The deputies contacted the owner of the residence who stated he did not know the men and did not give anyone permission for anyone to take items from his property.
Arrested for burglary of an inhabited dwelling were Paul W. Broadway, 45, Anthony Green, 35, and Todd Christopher Smith, 20. The three men are residents of different locations in the 900 block of Avenue H in Bogalusa. At this time, all of the men remain in jail with their bonds set at $5,000 each.
This is the first stay in the Washington Parish Jail for Broadway and Smith. Green has a previous arrest in 2006 for aggravated arson.
“Great job, Sgt. Cupp and Deputy Scroggs,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “No homeowner in our parish should have to fear for the security of his or her property when they are away from home. I am grateful to the concerned neighbor who called us and I remind everyone to call us if they see anything suspicious. Our deputies will respond.”
EXCESSIVE SPEED ON HIGHWAY 10 RESULTS IN TWO ARRESTS
On June 28, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputy Jay Dupre was patrolling on Highway 10 between Bogalusa and Franklinton when he clocked two vehicles traveling eastbound in excess of 90 miles per hour. Deputy Dupre turned around on the vehicles and pursued them, noticing that the two vehicles would alternately pass each other.
As Deputy Dupre was in pursuit, Deputy Richard Serigne responded to the area to assist. As Deputy Dupre caught up with the vehicle closest to him, the driver suddenly braked hard, causing a minor impact between the patrol vehicle and the fleeing vehicle. Deputy Dupre passed the vehicle, leaving Deputy Serigne to handle the car and its occupants.
Deputy Dupre was unable to catch up with the other vehicle which he was able to identify as a black Mazda sedan. The sedan was able to elude the deputy somewhere east of Sunset Drive in Bogalusa.
Returning to the stopped vehicle, Deputies Dupre and Serigne discovered eight persons inside the vehicle. The driver, identified as Tyler James Rester, 19, a resident of Highway 60 in Bogalusa was arrested and transported to the Washington Parish Jail charged with speeding 41 and more over the speed limit, aggravated flight from an officer and no driver’s license. His bond was set at $10,000. He met the conditions of his bond and was released from jail the same date.
The vehicle Rester was driving belonged to his grandfather and Rester had taken the vehicle without permission. The grandfather responded to the scene and took custody of the vehicle.
An occupant of the vehicle, Gregory Lenard Brown, 19, a resident of North Davis Road in Bogalusa was arrested for possession of marijuana and obstruction of justice. He met the conditions of his $2,500 bond and was released from jail the day of his arrest.
Other occupants of the vehicle who were under the age of 18 were permitted to contact a parent or guardian who then responded to the scene. The juveniles were released to their custody. Vehicle occupants above the age of 18 were allowed to leave the scene.
Sheriff Randy Seal stated, “This could have resulted in a tragedy. I am so pleased that Deputy Dupre was able to intercept this speeding vehicle. Two cars passing each other back and forth at very high speeds on a public highway are a recipe for disaster. I am so grateful no one was hurt. Thank you, Deputy Dupre and Deputy Serigne for a job well done.”
SHERIFF’S OFFICE PATROL DEPUTY RECOVERS STOLEN FIREARM
While on patrol in southeast Bogalusa, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputy Tyler Lindsey stopped a car being driven by a man not wearing a seatbelt. During the traffic stop, Deputy Lindsey learned that the driver had a weapon in the vehicle.
Sgt. David Cupp responded to the scene and assisted while the driver exited the vehicle and Deputy Lindsey recovered the semi-automatic pistol which was concealed between the driver’s seat and the center console. The 9mm fully loaded pistol had been reported stolen out of St. Tammany Parish.
When running a background check on the driver, it was discovered that he had three outstanding warrants for his arrest. He was wanted for driving while intoxicated, speeding and failure to comply with conditions of probation.
The driver, Duane Eric Cotton, 35, a resident of Byrd Avenue in Bogalusa, was arrested and booked into the Washington Parish Jail charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm, three counts of failure to appear in court and not wearing a seat belt. He remains in jail with no bond set at this time.
This is Cotton’s third stay in the Washington Parish Jail. In 2009, he was arrested for driving while intoxicated and speeding. His second arrest was later in 2009 for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under suspension.
“Our officers are non-stop when it comes to enforcing the law,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “Our patrol officers, our detectives and our jail staff are vigilant and professional in all they do. All of the citizens of Washington Parish are fortunate to have them protecting us and I am blessed to have them working for me.”
SHERIFF’S OFFICE DRUG TASK FORCE SEIZES ECSTASY
On June 11, detectives with the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force were conducting operations in the Mt. Hermon area when they observed a vehicle traveling north on Highway 10555 at a high rate of speed. The detectives made a traffic stop and arrested Cardell Barnes, 24, a resident of Dickerson Road in Kentwood.
When arrested, Barnes had a plastic bag containing 213 Ecstasy pills. Ecstasy is popular with drug abusers and produces euphoria and heightened sensations. It has no approved medical uses and long-term use can leave users severely impaired. Ecstasy is also known as MDMA which is short for its actual name of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine.
Barnes was booked into the Washington Parish Jail charged with possession with intent to distribute Schedule 1 drugs and speeding. Bond was set at $5,000. Barnes met the conditions of his bond and was released on June 12.
“One more drug dealer arrested,” said Sheriff Randy Seal, “and more drugs taken out of circulation. Our Drug Task Force and all of our deputies are always on the alert for illegal drugs in Washington Parish. Great job, Drug Task Force!”