Crime

19 arrested, 20 wanted in heroin trafficking scheme in Slidell, South Mississippi

Anyone can become addicted to drugs

You might think that only some types of people can get addicted to drugs. The truth is, it can happen to anyone, whether you're young or old, rich or poor, male or female.
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You might think that only some types of people can get addicted to drugs. The truth is, it can happen to anyone, whether you're young or old, rich or poor, male or female.

Law enforcement officials in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, have arrested 19 people and are looking for 20 others in connection to a drug trafficking scheme that has ties to South Mississippi.

The scheme was uncovered after a long investigation that included the St. Tammy Parish Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force and Louisiana Police Region 1 Narcotics unit, according to a release from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The “organization” distributed heroin and “other controlled dangerous substances” in St. Tammany and Orleans parishes and in South Mississippi, according to deputies.

The operation was based at Roussell Towing in Slidell, officials said.

The leaders of the operation, identified by sheriff’s deputies as Jason Hotard, Kasey Johnson, Dawn Herbert and Turquoise Gillum, used the business to store and package the drugs.

Deputies also identified Aariel Recovery, advertised as a substance abuse clinic, as another business associated with the organization. The business is co-owned by Herbert.

Photos of suspects were released to the media. Some of the 20 that are still wanted have not been identified by officials.

“These dealers are selling extremely dangerous illegal drugs in our community,” Sheriff Randy Smith said. “We are continuing our aggressive attack on drug dealers and sending a clear message that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated.”

Arrests warrants were issued and search warrants were executed at 11 locations Wednesday morning.

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics provided resources and manpower to execute at least one search warrant in South Mississippi. The Louisiana Department of Corrections – Division of Probation and Parole in addition to The Department of Homeland Security (HSI) also assisted in executing arrest warrants.

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