DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (FOX44) -- A major drug bust in Ascension Parish Monday morning landed 40 people in jail. US Attorney, Don Cazayoux, says 48 people have been charged with dealing drugs in the Gonzales area. Twenty-five of those people have been federally indicted.
Members of several different law enforcement agencies teamed up to arrest those alleged drug dealers. They arrested 40 of the 48 charged. The investigation has been going on since April.
Officials tell us those arrested were charged with distributing a number of different drugs, everything from cocaine and ecstasy to heroin and meth. Law enforcement officers recovered $150,000 worth of drugs during the bust. That included a kilo of powder and 250 grams of crack-cocaine. They also found seven firearms.
Residents say, they’re pleased with the police efforts for the most part. When Norbert Daniel heard about the drug dealer round-up, he wasn’t surprised. “Forty people is a lot of people, but I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more coming,” he says.
He says, the drug problem is on the rise, not just in Ascension Parish, but everywhere. “It’s like a cancer. It spreads,” he says. “If its 48 people here in Gonzales, imagine all the other little communities and small towns and cities.”
Daniel isn’t the only one who has noticed the increase. “It was getting bad. You could just tell,” says Gregory Griffith.
“Trouble is everywhere,” adds Tracee.
However, Monday morning’s bust changes things. “You ain’t going to have people stealing cars or gas out of cars or stuff to go buy drugs with,” Griffith says.
Many residents say they already feel safer knowing that some of the alleged dealers are off the streets. “That’s somebody in the community they don’t have to worry about anymore,” says Daniel.
Others say, 40 arrests just aren’t enough. “Even though they arrested 48 people, they need to get to the top of the problem,” says Tracee. “Instead of giving people traffic tickets, they should be out there fixing the drug problem.”
All hope that this bust is just the beginning in the continuing fight against drugs. “It’s going to take time. It’s a step by step process in order for that to happen,” says Daniel.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is also pleased with the number of arrests made Monday. Law enforcement in Ascension Parish contacted the New Orleans division of the DEA to help handle the growing drug problem in the area.
The DEA sent a group of agents to the community for months to investigate. Jimmy Fox, the Special-Agent-in-Charge for the DEA, says 80% of violent crimes start with drugs. He believes their efforts this time around will help reduce drug trafficking activities, and other drug-related crimes in the area.
“It’s an impact. It’s a significant impact in the communities in Ascension Parish and all over the state,” says Fox. “I think we can all feel a little safer because those individuals are currently off the streets.”
The individuals who have been federally indicted will be in court Tuesday afternoon.