- Theft of seized drugs and cash.
- Shakedowns of drug dealers.
- Selling confiscated drugs.
- Witness tampering.
- And just for good measure, sex and violence.
Plot lines out of the Denzel Washington movie Training Day or Martin Scorese’s movie The Departed?
Nope and nope. Some or all of the above are possible reasons behind a massive RAID on the Hammond Police Department and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Hammond substation by upwards of 100 FBI agents on Thursday.
The raid was conducted as part of an ongoing—and widening—investigation of members of the joint Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) drug task force, several of whom had earlier been either arrested or suspended.
The New Orleans Advocate last month published a story about former task force member and Tangipahoa Parish deputy sheriff KARL E. NEWMAN who is charged by a federal indictment with robbery, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and Oxycodone. He and fellow task force member Johnny Domingue are slated for trial in February after Domingue pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges and agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Domingue told authorities that he and Newman split several thousands of dollars from the sale of narcotics, as well as cash seized in raids by the task force.
Newman is also accused of using violence against a woman following a sexual liaison with her.
The leader of the task force, DEA agent Chad Scott, a 17-year DEA veteran, has been suspended and stripped of his badge and security clearance in connection with the far-reaching investigation.
Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards, brother to Gov. John Bel Edwards, and Hammond Police Chief James Stewart were said to be cooperating with the FBI and the DEA as the investigation continues.
Stewart was employed by the FBI for 30 years before retiring to become Hammond police chief last June.
Under our system of justice, of course, the accused are considered innocent in the eyes of the law unless and until convicted by a jury of their peers.
But still, one has to wonder about those who are entrusted with the responsibility and placed in the position of protecting us.