KNOE 8 News, knoe.com
MONROE, La., (KNOE 8 News) - A former state trooper arrested back in March of this year, has now been rearrested on additional charges.
As part of an ongoing investigation, Ronald Thomas was rearrested this week on the following additional charges: money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, attempted obstruction of justice and 12 counts of filing false public records. His total bond is set at $260,000. Prior to this arrest, Thomas had been terminated from Louisiana State Police.
Thomas' wife, 51-year-old Olivia Thomas of Monroe, was also arrested and charged with money laundering, conspiracy to obstruct justice, attempted obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit money laundering and accessory after the fact to distribution of cocaine. Her total bond is set at $125,000. Olivia Thomas was previously employed with the Office of Motor Vehicles, but has since resigned.
In the initial arrest by the agency's Bureau of Investigation, Thomas was charged with a variety of criminal violations including narcotics distribution. At the time of his arrest, Thomas was immediately suspended from duty pending the outcome of an administrative investigation.
After his arrest, Thomas was booked into the Ouachita Parish Jail where he is still being held. Prior to his arrest Thomas had been assigned as the evidence custodian for northern Louisiana investigative operations.
After consultations with District Attorney Jerry Jones and his staff, Thomas was charged with payroll fraud, malfeasance in office, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine, and obstruction of justice.
Superintendent of State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson said that several months ago, information was developed during the course of another investigation suggesting Thomas' possible involvement in illegal activity. After months of accumulating evidence in furtherance of the allegations troopers moved quickly Monday to make arrests. Troopers executed a search warrant on Thomas' property and seized nearly $50,000 in cash and a stolen weapon. Other items have also been seized and are currently being processed.
"I want to emphasize that it was State Police troopers who learned of Thomas' misconduct, it was troopers who aggressively pursued this high priority investigation, and it was troopers who arrested the sergeant and booked him. We have no reluctance whatsoever identifying police misconduct and taking appropriate action, even if it happens to be one of our own officers," Edmonson said.
"Thomas has dishonored his oath, his organization and more importantly the community he swore to protect. We will push for the strongest possible punishment," Edmonson said.
Investigators also arrested 38-year-old Leonard Dunn of Monroe. Dunn was charged with 3 counts of distribution of marijuana and 1 count of distribution of hydrocodone. Thomas apparently had conspired with Dunn to sell large quantities of cocaine in northeast Louisiana. Thomas also apparently made attempts to warn Dunn that he was being investigated and instructed Dunn to destroy evidence and dispose of money.
"Our work is not yet done. This investigation continues to evolve and other arrests are possible. While we have no reason to believe that any other troopers are involved, we will nevertheless go wherever the facts take us. We will be unrelenting in pursuing anyone else who might have been involved in the illegal activities," Edmonson said.
"We are confident that no on-going criminal cases awaiting trial have been affected by Thomas' misconduct. We have also ordered an immediate inventory of the evidence most recently under Thomas' supervision and control. That inventory will be conducted by personnel from the State Police Crime Lab. I have also directed a thorough a review of internal procedures to address any potential vulnerabilities in our evidence system," Edmonson said.
If convicted on all charges Thomas faces up to a $76,000 fine and 92 years in prison. If convicted on all charges Dunn faces up to a $65,000 and 40 years
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