Missing money and drugs:

The Times-Picayune, NOLA.com
BYLINE: Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com
2 VIDEOS

Grand Isle, LA
Grand Isle Police Dept. accused of sloppy evidence protocols

2016-03-16_Missing money and drugs_01JPSO Sheriff Newell Normand Discusses Grand Isle Police Dept. Probe Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand recounts improprieties within the Grand Isle Police Department concerning missing evidence and cash.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand detailed cases of sloppy evidence storage and other improprieties within the Grand Isle Police Department following the arrests of 21 suspects in an ongoing investigation into drug dealing on the island.

Detectives who served search warrants at the police department's headquarters Tuesday (March 15) uncovered a slew of problems including missing drug evidence, personal property stored in the evidence room and unidentifiable firearms, Normand said.

Outgoing Grand Isle Police Chief Euris Dubois also could not account for $4,000 in missing cash for undercover drug buys that had been stored in a locked box, the key to which was kept in a barbeque pit at the department, Normand said.

"I'm not suggesting that the chief did anything criminal. I don't know," Normand said. "What we have is a bunch of unanswered questions relative to missing evidence, missing money and we don't know who the owners of these guns are."
Dubois could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Island drug probe

The 17 men and four women arrested Tuesday were taken into custody during the third phase of an ongoing drug investigation that began in 2014. The first phase culminated in November 2014 with the arrests of 21 people, including former Grand Isle Fire Chief Aubrey "T-Black" Chaisson.

The probe kicked off after the Sheriff's Office received a tip about firefighters dealing drugs, authorities said. Chaisson pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in July 2015 and was sentenced to six months of probation.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office detectives arrested 21 suspects during an ongoing investigation into drug dealing in Grand Isle. Officials displayed photos of some of the suspects arrested Tuesday (March 15). (Photo by Michelle Hunter)
The Sheriff's Office continued the investigation through 2015, making 37 undercover buys of meth, cocaine and prescription medication, Normand said.

Working with the Jefferson Parish district attorney's office, a grand jury handed up indictments for 18 suspects in the case. Armed with search and arrest warrants, detectives rounded up the 21 suspects, including three or four who were the primary distributors of drugs on the island, Normand said.

Still at-large are Richard Brouillette, 25, Klabert Guilliot, 24, Justin Hebert, 24 and Trevor Parr, 30, authorities said.

Police improprieties

But detectives didn't search just the homes of suspected drug dealers. The Sheriff's Office also served a warrant at the Grand Isle Police Department, seizing 32 firearms, computers, police records and other evidence. They did so after receiving numerous tips from citizens and arrests suspect about police "improprieties," Normand said.

"We're still early as it relates to this... but, at the present time, we do have obvious evidence that causes us grave and significant concern as to the efficacy of the protocols and procedure of the handling of evidence and things of that nature by the Grand Isle Police Department.

Sheriff's Office investigators seized empty police department evidence bags that should have contained marijuana.

JPSO Arrests 21 In Grand Isle Drug Investigation Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand details his departments investigation into drug dealing in Grand Isle.

"You can see where the bag was ripped open and the marijuana is gone," Normand said, holding up the clear plastic bag.
Detectives determined personal property -- including officer-owned firearms -- had been stored in the evidence room, "not only by members of the Grand Isle Police Department but the chief, himself," Normand said.

In fact, Dubois had a pistol on his desk that was not his own. But he could not tell Sheriff's Office investigators who the pistol belonged to, where it had come from and whether it was part of an investigation, according to Normand.

Missing cash

The sheriff also detailed money mismanagement at the police department, recounting the search for $4,000 in "purchase of evidence and purchase of information" (PEPI) cash, dollars kept on hand to pay informants or make undercover drug buys. The money was stored in a locked box, but Dubois kept the key in a barbeque pit, according to Normand.

"Everybody knew the keys were in the barbeque pit," Normand said.

The use of PEPI cash requires documentation and supervisor approval, policies that don't seem to have been followed in Grand Isle. Dubois couldn't locate the keys to the locked box when detectives searched the department. He later found them, but told the Sheriff's Office the money wasn't there when he opened the box.

"I guess the $4,000 is on me," Dubois told investigators, according to Normand.

The Sheriff's Office will continue investigating the police department with the district attorney's office to make sure that no constitution rights have been violated.

"I'm not saying that's criminal. But at the very least, there's a very sloppy practice in the maintenance of evidence that's to be used in the prosecution of folks," Normand said. "These sloppy practices have a tendency to led to sloppy outcomes, and it's not the way business should be done."

Arrested suspects include:

* Patrick Santiny, 52, booked with distribution of methamphetamine.
* Tyler Smith, 25, booked with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of benzphetamine
* Jana Freeman, 20, booked with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of hydrocodone.
* Gina Bradberry Cheramie, 47, booked with two counts of methamphetamine.
* Kate Crosby, 65, booked with distribution of marijuana, two counts of distribution of hydrocodone and two counts of distribution of diazepam.
* Louis Dassau, 37, three counts of distribution of hydrocodone,
* Donny Dodson, 28, booked with distribution of heroin.
* Jacob Ellard, 28, booked with distribution of marijuana.
* Kenny Lopinto, 32, booked with distribution of marijuana, distribution of heroin, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
* Randall Riguad, 38, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
* Angela Ledet, 48, booked with three counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
* Matthew Madere, 32, booked with distribution of methamphetamine.
* Neil Richoux, 43, booked with three counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
* Timothy Stevens, 24, booked with distribution of methamphetamine.
* Tobby Smith, 26, booked with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
* Joseph J. Angeron, 51, booked with possession of marijuana.
* Joseph A. Angeron, 23, booked with possession of marijuana.
* Lyle Ingram, 26, booked with possession of marijuana.
* Wilmer Mancia, 40, booked with conspiracy to distribute cocaine
* Alberto Gonzalez, 45, booked with being a person in the country illegally in possession of a firearm.
* Jorge Maldanado Ruiz, 45, booked with being in the country illegally following deportation
Wanted suspects include:
* Richard Brouillette, 25, wanted for distribution of hydrocodone, distribution of methamphetamine and six counts of illegal drug sales.
* Klabert Guilliot, 24, wanted for three counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
* Justin Hebert, 24, wanted for distribution of heroin.
* Trevor Parr, 30, booked with distribution of heroin.




2016-03-16_Missing money and drugs_02
Grand Isle undercover operation results in 20 drug arrests, including volunteer fire chief. A tip about drug use at Grand Isle's fire station prompted a six-month undercover operation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




2016-03-16_Missing money and drugs-1-6
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office detectives arrested 21 suspects during an ongoing investigation into drug dealing in Grand Isle. Officials displayed photos of some of the suspects arrested Tuesday (March 15). (Photo by Michelle Hunter)
 
 
 
 
 




2016-03-16_Missing money and drugs-2-6
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office detectives arrested 21 suspects during an ongoing investigation into drug dealing in Grand Isle. Officials displayed photos of some of the suspects arrested Tuesday (March 15). (Photo by Michelle Hunter)
 
 
 
 
 




2016-03-16_Missing money and drugs-3-6
Richard Brouillette, left, Klabert Guillot, middle, and Justin Hebert are wanted by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in connection with an ongoing investigation into drug dealing in Grand Isle. (Photo by Michelle Hunter)
 
 




2016-03-16_Missing money and drugs-4-6
A pistol and empty evidence bags seized from the Grand Isle Police Department. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the bags once contained marijuana from an investigation, but someone clearly ripped open the bags and took the drugs. (Photo by Michelle Hunter)
 
 
 
 
 




2016-03-16_Missing money and drugs-5-6
A pair of evidence bags that once contained marijuana seized in an investigation by the Grand Isle Police Department. The now-empty bags were reseized Tuesday by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office who suspect someone ripped open the bags and took the drugs(Photo by Michelle Hunter)
 
 
 
 




2016-03-16_Missing money and drugs-6-6
A pistol seized from the desk of Grand Isle Police Chief Euris Dubois. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the chief did not know who the gun belonged to, where it came from or whether it was evidence from an investigation. (Photo by Michelle Hunter)
 
 
 
 
 

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