Last Modified: Monday, May 05, 2014 3:55 PM
During Monday’s early morning hours, S.W.A.T. teams and members of the Combined Anti-Drug Taskforce raided 14 houses in Lake Charles as part of a major drug bust, authorities said.
Among those arrested during the bust, dubbed “Operation 27,” were the largest supplier of cocaine in the area, as well as the largest street-level dealer, said James Anderson, spokesman for Louisiana State Police Troop D, which was the lead agency.
Authorities had an airplane and a helicopter in the air as 24 people were arrested. The operation focused on powder cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana distribution, Anderson said. State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson called the sting “the largest operation in the history of Southwest Louisiana.”
The drugs were coming to Southwest Louisiana from Houston and Mexico, state police Colonel Mike Edmonson said. He said Interstate 10 was used as a “funnel” into the area. More arrests are expected locally, as well as in Texas, Edmonson said.
“It’s far from over,” he said.
The sting was called “Operation 27,” because one of the targets was going to be arrested for a 27th time.
Hayward Gerade Lecompte, 39, 1825 Rena Street, is believed to be the largest supplier of cocaine in Lake Charles, Anderson said. Lecompte was bringing to the area six kilos of cocaine a month, Anderson said. Arrested at a location on Nelson Road on April 29, he was arrested on 17 drug counts.
Iowa man Norvell Keith Harris, 36, 103 Cypress Lane, believed to be the largest street level drug dealer in Lake Charles, was also arrested April 29 at 2640 Country Club. Hollie Elizabeth Harris, 34, also of 103 Cypress Lane, was arrested on along with Norvell Harris. Norvell Harris was arrested on 23 drug counts, while Hollie Harris faces 12 drug counts.
Monday morning’s crackdown was swift and efficient, with the 14 houses hit within an hour, Edmonson said. About 150 members of law enforcement participated in the raid, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Ton Mancuso said.
Mancuso said S.W.A.T. teams did not meet any significant resistance.
“I think we surprised them this morning,” Mancuso said. “That’s why we hit them with so many and so strong and so fast, we wanted that element of surprise.”
Last week, law enforcement also raided a business from which drugs were being dealt, Gene Pittman, head of the CAT team.
Mancuso, who recently spoke before the Louisiana legislature against lessening drug penalties, called the operation a victory in war against drugs.
“I can’t say we always win, but we won today,” Mancuso said. “We won last week and we’re not going to give up. We’re going to continue to fight and we’re going to continue to scratch and dig.”
Edmonson called the raid important with economic growth expected in Southwest Louisiana in the next few years.
“We know where the drugs are coming from, they’re coming out of Texas and Mexico,” Edmonson said. “We do everything we can do to be proactive in our efforts for public safety. We do what we’ve got to do and that started at three o-clock this morning.”
The Lake Charles Police Department, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, state Wildlife and Fisheries, the DEA and Homeland Security participated in the operation, Anderson said.
Posted By: Patrick On: 5/12/2014
Title: great cops in Lake Charles
Here Here to the Lake Charles finest for not going after the low hanging fruit of pot smokers but going after the hard drugs often connected with violence and broken families. It takes real guts to go in a door not knowing what's waiting for you I can only imagine. I've been to lots of cities and Lake Charles has the nicest friendliest officers in the country. You're a credit to your badge gentlemen.
Posted By: Richard Higginbotham On: 5/6/2014