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Traffic stop leads to discovery of $825,000 stash of heroin


Routine Louisiana traffic stops commonly involve little more than the issuance of a ticket for speeding or some other traffic law. Occasionally, traffic stops result in an arrest for DUI. On rare occasions, traffic stops can lead to further investigations and an arrest for a more serious crime.

A recent traffic stop in Calcasieu Parish led to the arrest of a man and a woman on multiple weapons and drug charges. The traffic stop occurred on I-10. Deputies discovered $72,600 in the car. The driver was arrested and booked on a money laundering charge.

Through further investigation, deputies and troopers assigned to the Combined Anti-Drug Team Narcotics Task force found evidence linking the money laundering suspect to an address in a neighborhood south of Covington. When officers visited the address, they found the wife of the arrested driver and evidence of serious drug crimes.

According to the officers, the woman gave officers written permission to search the apartment. The search allegedly yielded an AK-47 pistol, almost $10,000 in cash, 5 grams of marijuana, a 20-ton hydraulic press used to press and brand kilograms of narcotics, a vacuum sealer and other items used for the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs. Officers also found a safe, and they obtained a search warrant allowing them to open it. According to the police, the opened safe yielded a stolen .380 hand gun, and seven pounds of heroin with an estimated street value of $825,000.

The woman was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute of a schedule 1 narcotic (heroin), possession if a schedule 1 drug (marijuana), transactions involving proceeds from drug offenses, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said additional arrests in the case are anticipated.

The charges against the two defendants are serious, but both are entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Many questions remain to be answered, including whether police had the right to search the defendant's car in the initial traffic stop and whether the warrant was based upon probably cause to believe that a crime had been committed. The services of a competent criminal defense attorney may provide significant benefits to the defendants.

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, "North Shore woman accused of having $825K in heroin in apartment safe," Kim Chatelain, Dec. 6, 2017

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