Capital City Press LLC, The Advocate,
BYLINE: Terry L. Jones,

West Baton Rouge Parish, LA

Informant reports administering drugs

Maj. Jerome Fontenot with the WBR Sherriff's Department

PORT ALLEN — A West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s major arrested Monday night on drug charges was involved in several affairs with paid informants, stole seized property from the police evidence room and is suspected of drug use, according to an affidavit released Wednesday.

The affidavit of probable cause also says deputies found several prescription drugs and crack cocaine in the briefcase of Maj. Jerome Fontenot, a 17-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, when he was arrested Monday in front of his home in Addis.

His arrest came after he was suspended Friday for an unrelated matter, Col. Richie Johnson said previously. Fontenot has since resigned.

The affidavit reveals Fontenot was suspended after he admitted to inappropriate sexual relationships with two paid informants — identified only as mother and daughter — and stealing police evidence, which he gave to one of the informants.

Johnson wrote in the affidavit that the Sheriff’s Office launched an internal investigation into Fontenot’s dealings as the former director of the Sheriff Office’s River West Narcotics Task Force after suspects in one of Fontenot’s cases, referred to as “the Lawson family case,” questioned his credibility during a March 13 pretrial conference.

Fontenot worked on the task force from 1997 to 2013.

Narcotics deputies interviewed about the allegations said Fontenot had affairs with the two informants, the affidavit says, and deputies said Fontenot gave one of the informants a 50-inch plasma TV, a computer and a PlayStation game console the Sheriff’s Office had seized from the Lawson home in May 2013.

When he was approached by investigators, Fontenot said his girlfriend, a paid informant, saw the items in the narcotics office one day while visiting and said she believed the items belonged to her, the affidavit states.

“Agents further stated that they convinced Major Fontenot that his actions were improper and requested to have his girlfriend/paid informant return the items,” Johnson wrote.

Fontenot was removed as a narcotics commander and reassigned to administrative duties in the information technology division, the affidavit says.

Fontenot later admitted to investigators he had removed one of the informants from her cell at Parish Prison and took her to his office on several occasions in November 2013, the affidavit states.

The same informant told police she accompanied Fontenot last year to a Louisiana Narcotics Officers Association Conference in New Orleans where he asked her to use a syringe to inject him with two Roxicodone pills.

For several days prior to his arrest, Fontenot had been sending texts to Johnson requesting access to his office to “gather some of his items.”

Deputies were in the office Monday, searching for stolen property when they found a black briefcase containing drugs, the affidavit says.

The deputies returned the briefcase to the office and allowed Fontenot to come into the office Monday night. Fontenot took the briefcase with him, along with several other personal items, the affidavit says. He was arrested around 11 p.m. by deputies who followed him to his home.

Fontenot was booked into Parish Jail on counts of possession with the intent to distribute 45 pills of Oxycodone, 28 pills of Valium, 15 pills of codeine and 1 gram of crack cocaine, and malfeasance in office.

Fontenot, who had been working in the Sheriff’s Office’s computer technology department, had served as the chief of the sheriff’s narcotics division until 2006.

Fontenot was transferred for safety reasons to the Iberville Parish Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Before being hired by the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Fontenot worked for the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office for about 15 years.

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