Police took four men into custody on July 8 when they executed six search warrants in Orleans and St. Tammany Parishes. The searches are said to have led to the seizure of marijuana plants and processed marijuana that would have been worth more than $7 million on the street. The suspects were all booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail. Three of the men have been charged with marijuana possession, possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, racketeering, conspiracy and operating a clandestine laboratory. The bonds for each of the men have been set at $1.5 million. The fourth suspect faces drug and weapon possession charges. His bond has been set at $7,000.
The search warrants were obtained after an investigation that lasted about six months. Troopers and narcotics investigators from the Louisiana State Police were assisted during the narcotics operation by Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Homeland Security agents, St. Tammany and Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies and Slidell Police Department officers.
The drugs were allegedly found in a home in Orleans Parish and two residences in St. Tammany Parish. In addition to the marijuana, investigators claim to have found a small quantity of cocaine, an undisclosed quantity of the Schedule III prescription drug Suboxone, two firearms, two motor vehicles and about $75,000 in U.S. currency. Law enforcement officials referred to two of the properties searched as grow houses.
Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means that the penalties for cultivating and distributing it can be harsh. When their clients face marijuana-related drug charges, experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue that less severe penalties should be considered because the drug has legitimate medical uses and is legal for recreational purposes in several states. Attorneys might also offer prosecutors a speedy and successful outcome in return for reducing drug charges and penalties.