Just for Jesus pastor arrested again

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A local pastor with past legal woes was arrested again Monday on a drug charge, authorities said.

James P. Bertrand Jr., 51, 3945 South Blue Sage Rd., was arrested for possession of crack cocaine, according to a news release from Kim Myers, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office spokesperson.

Myers said Bertrand was arrested after a sheriff's officer observed what was believed to be a drug transaction outside a gas station on Country Club Road.

Bertrand, who founded the Just for Jesus rallies in Lake Charles, was arrested in Houston in December on theft charges — authorities said he purchased a $67,000 vehicle from a Lake Area dealership, but the transaction was voided because his driver's license was suspended at the time. The dealership tried to retrieve the vehicle twice on its own, authorities said.

Bertrand was also arrested on cocaine and DWI charges in Texas in September.

Myers said that when officers approached Bertrand on Monday, they saw a "smoking device in his back pocket."

He attempted to discard a clear plastic bag containing crack cocaine, which he had concealed in his mouth, she said.

Bertrand was charged with possession of crack cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia, she said.

He was released on an $8,500 bond set by Judge David Ritchie.