Last Modified: Friday, June 20, 2014 2:04 PM
Hawyard Gerade LeCompte had $33,000 on him, which he planned to use to purchase two kilos of cocaine, when he was arrested in April, a detective with the Combined Anti-Drug Task Force testified Thursday in state district court.
Detectives didn’t find any drugs on LeCompte, but he admitted to authorities that he planned to use the money to purchase cocaine, Detective Rebecca Reed said during a bond-reduction hearing. LeCompte, 39, who was arrested as part of drug sting “Operation 27” is accused of being the largest supplier of cocaine in the area. He faces 21 drug counts.
After LeCompte was arrested, his bond was set at $4.4 million. Attorney Wilford Carter asked Judge Sharon Wilson to reduce Lecompte’s bond to between $100,000 and $150,000. Prosecutor Brett Gaspard countered by asking Wilson to hold Lecompte without bond. Wilson reduced the bond to $296,000.
LeCompte has four felony convictions — cocaine possession, aggravated criminal damage to property and cocaine distribution in Calcasieu Parish, and robbery in Texas. He pleaded guilty to the three Calcasieu charges in 1995 and was placed on supervised probation. He “absconded” from supervision in 1997 but was apprehended in Texas, said Pam Laborde, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. He was brought back to Louisiana in May 1998 and sent to prison until November 1994, Laborde said. He completed probation in June 2012.
When LeCompte was arrested on April 29, on Nelson Road near the Lake Charles Regional Airport, he was following a car with two occupants, Reed said. Houston men Omar Sanchez Ortuno, 21, and Venancio Ortuno, 29, were in the other car.
A drug dog “indicated” the presence of drugs in LeCompte’s car, but no drugs were found, Reed said.
LeCompte said in an audio-taped interview that he was planning on meeting with the men in the other car to buy two kilos of cocaine, Reed said. He planned to pay $22,000 for one kilo of cocaine, then another $11,000 for a half-kilo of cocaine. The other half-kilo was to be “fronted” to him, Reed said he told authorities.
LeCompte told police his supplier for the past year had been Ranferi Sanchez, an illegal resident who lives in Houston, Reed said.
LeCompte said he would meet with Sanchez or his associates in two to three cars, Reed Said. The money would be counted, then one of the cars would be sent to fetch another car which contained the drugs, Reed said LeCompte told law enforcement.
LeCompte, who didn’t like to travel with drugs, would purchase enough cocaine for 10 days to two weeks, Reed said. LeCompte would keep between seven and nine phones at one time, and occasionally lived in Spring, Texas, she said.
While no drugs were found on LeCompte, 14 one-ounce bags of cocaine were found in a hotel room on Derek Drive, which Norvell Harris had booked, Reed said.
Norvell Harris, 36, and Hollie Harris, 34, were arrested on Country Club Road the same day. Norvell Harris, who faces 199 drug charges, is accused of being the area’s largest street-level drug dealer. He is being held on $13.15 million bond.
The Ortunos each face once count of attempt and conspiracy and are being held on $500,000 bond.
Reed said LeCompte was seen on “numerous occasions” exchanging what were believed to drugs, some of those exchanges with Harris. She personally saw him three times exchange packages believed to contain cocaine -(9 ounces, 12 ounces and 13 ounces), she said. A “reliable, confidential source” said the packages contained cocaine, she said.
The last exchange took place April 29, Reed said.
LeCompte also regularly supplied Herbert Slydell, and was “set up” to provide him with 18 ounces of cocaine that day, Reed said. Slydell is being held on $500,000 bond.
LeCompte had also owned two businesses, a barbershop and a clothing store, at one point, Reed said. He is also believed to have sold clothes and cocaine out of a U-Haul he owned, she said. He is believed to had transferred the lease to the barbershop because “there was too much heat,” she said.
The CAT team began investigating LeCompte around July or August 2013 -— Harris was investigated first, then LeCompte was found to be his supplier, Reed said.
LeCompte admitted to distributing larger amounts of cocaine as time went on, Reed said.
LeCompte’s girlfriend, Shauntane Tezeno, said he has three children to support. She said he has built scaffolding in the past, but has not done so in the three years they have been together. He made good money selling clothes, she said.
His family has about $90,000 in property to put toward a bond, but has raised only about $1,500 cash, she said.
Gaspard asked her if she knew as much about LeCompte as she thought she did at one point.
“Maybe not,” she said.
Carter argued that there was no basis for LeCompte’s two cocaine possession charges and that he believed the attempt and conspiracy charges to be unconstitutional.
Carter said that the conspiracy charges revolved around phone calls in which drug transactions were discussed, but that there was no proof of hand-to-hand transactions.
“This was the crime of the parish,” Carter asked. “He didn’t have no cocaine on him.”
While LeCompte has four felonies, he has only been arrested for a DWI since 1998, Carter said.
That’s true, Gaspard said, because LeCompte “was getting better and better at his business.”
“He could have done scaffolding,” Gaspard said. “It was more profitable to sell cocaine.”
Wilson said that while she initially wondered about the charges, after Thursday’s hearing she did not believe it to be a weak case.
She said she did not find there to be strong evidence on the cocaine possession charges and dropped bond to $11,000 on those two charges. She set the rest of the bond at $15,000 apiece on each other attempt and conspiracy charges.
If LeCompte makes bail, he is to surrender his passport, stay at his mother’s house at all times and cannot leave the parish, Wilson said.
Posted By: Raymond Topps On: 6/22/2014
Bond reduction? Only to get out and sell more drugs! Lets see how many times he gets arrested before operation 28, this town judicial system is a joke.
Posted By: bo anderson On: 6/22/2014
This is why our kids stray off and often do wrong in their lives. some never make it back to reality. If u do the crime u should be a big boy and do the time
Posted By: Kevin guillory On: 6/21/2014