December 19 was an unhappy day for drug dealers throughout Washington Parish. A lengthy operation by the Washington Parish Drug Task Force led to warrants for twenty-one parish residents for selling drugs.
The roundup began at the crack of dawn Thursday morning and continued throughout most of the day. Although all drug dealers could not be located, 15 were arrested and placed in the Washington Parish Jail with bond set at $75,000 for each count of selling drugs. One drug dealer is already in prison and the warrant on him will be served at that location. “We will continue to look for the others and we will catch them,” stated Chief Deputy Mike Haley. “The easiest thing for them would be to come to Franklinton and turn themselves in. Otherwise, they can be looking for us to come calling.”
The roundup was a coordinated effort between the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bogalusa Police Department. Twenty-four law enforcement officers, including Sheriff Randy Seal and eight DEA agents, went throughout the parish with twenty-one arrest warrants. Arrests were made first on the western side of the parish and then officers moved on to the east side for more arrests.
The months long investigation into drug dealing in the parish also resulted in the earlier arrests of four other persons for distribution of Schedule II drugs. Those persons were Leonard Lewis, 40, Keith Collins, 43, Shanda Holden and Steven Cotton, 32..
Keith Brown, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division of DEA, stated, “The prescription drug abuse epidemic is a cancer that continues to plague our country, including the citizens of Washington Parish. Today’s effort shows the DEA is committed to utilizing our enforcement elements and intelligence resources in a combined partnership with the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office to help stem the tide of illicit drugs.”
Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal, who participated in the roundup, commented. “I am sick and tired of these knuckleheads who sleep and loaf all day and prowl all night selling drugs. They need to get a job and pay taxes. The hard-working citizens of our parish should not have to put up with this behavior from the dope dealers. We are more than glad to arrest them and put them in jail where they belong. This won’t be the last bunch that goes to jail. Anyone else we catch selling drugs in our parish is destined for a trip to jail. Drug dealers should always remember that we are watching.”
Warrants in today’s roundup were for:
Jessica Archuleta, 32, Main Street, Franklinton
Thomas Bennett, 42, Strahan Cemetery Road, Franklinton
Roan Rayshun Bickham,30, Jamieson Creek Road, Franklinton
James Blackwell, 45, Hwy 21 North, Angie
Steven Brown, 25, Avenue L, Bogalusa
Michael Chaney, 38, J. Warren Road, Franklinton
Greg Conerly, 25, N. Royal Street, Bogalusa
Bennie Davis, 31, John D. Woods Road, Franklinton
Chad Freeman, 35, Wilmuth Street, Bogalusa
Chaterra Gatena,23, Woodrow Magee Road, Franklinton
Yancy Holmes, 32, Duncan Road, Franklinton
Allison Elizabeth Magee, 20, Thad Mizell Road, Bogalusa
Virginia McMillan, 58, Amy Drive, Bogalusa
Torrence Partman, 33, Old Columbia Road, Franklinton
William Cody Phelps, 25, Avenue E, Bogalusa
William Eddie Phelps, 46, Avenue E, Bogalusa
Jasper Stephens, 54, Lee’s Creek Road, Bogalusa
Jason Thomas, 36, 11th Avenue, Franklinton
Tiffany Thomas, 25, Cordy Temples Road, Franklinton
Jimmy Lamar Warren, 37, Nobles Cemetery Road, Franklinton
David Wells, 35, North Border Drive, Bogalusa
Two defendants, Jasper Stephens and Bennie Davis, bonded out later in the day on December 19. The remaining defendants remain in jail as of midnight, December 19.
As of midnight, December 19, only five of the wanted drug dealers were still at large. Those five are Jessica Archuleta, Greg Conerly, Chad Freeman, Yancy Holmes and David Wells. Those five are encouraged to turn themselves in at the Washington Parish Jail in Franklinton. If anyone knows the location of any of these persons, they are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (985) 839-3434.