Round up of suspects begins in Operation Prescribed Justice
This morning Plaquemine Police Department and Iberville Sheriff’s Department began a round-up of more than 50 suspects who will be charged with selling prescription drugs under their Operation Prescribed Justice investigation.
The investigation was initiated months ago in an effort to stop the sale of prescription medications in Iberville Parish, which has become a serious problem in Iberville and across the country.
This morning Plaquemine Police Chief Orian Gulotta and Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi led the beginning of the arrest phase of this highly secret and tightly guarded joint investigation between Iberville Sheriff’s Office and Plaquemine Police Department through the L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) Task Force. The L.E.A.D. Task Force is a joint narcotics task force consisting of officers from Plaquemine Police Department and deputies from Iberville Sheriff’s Office.
Undercover operatives have been operating in Iberville for several months targeting all illegal drug distributors, but with a special emphasis on prescription drug pushers. Historically these types of drug distributors have been difficult to develop cases against because many of them have legal prescriptions to obtain and possess the drugs, but instead of using them for their intended purposes the drug pushers are selling their prescription medication to drug abusers.
Undercover officers have made dozens of undercover drug purchases from unsuspecting dealers throughout Plaquemine and all other areas of Iberville Parish over the past several months. These undercover efforts have resulted in dozens of cases involving 52 different suspects so far.
Stassi said the law enforcement agencies, with the cooperation of Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Ricky Ward, convened a session of the Iberville Parish Grand Jury and obtained 63 sealed indictments.
“I have been approached by countless concerned citizens regarding the prescription drug abuse in Iberville since I took office in July,” said Sheriff Brett Stassi. “Because of the high security around this investigation I have been v ery tight lipped about what we were doing to combat this problem. I am happy to now be able to openly discuss the measures we have taken. Operation Prescribed Justice has been even more successful than I had anticipated, and this is only the beginning,” said Sheriff Stassi. ”I also want to extend a personal thank you to Plaquemine Police Chief Orian Gulotta for his dedication to this operation. L.E.A.D. Task Force would not exist without the cooperation from the Plaquemine Police Department.”
The law enforcement leaders praised the efforts of L.E.A.D. Task Force for the unprecedented success of the highly secret war against prescription drug abuse. “Let this serve as notice to all drug dealers that we are watching, we will protect and serve the good, decent, hard-working citizens of our parish. We will work with all law enforcement agencies to put a stop to illegal drug use,” said Stassi.
Officials remind citizens to stay vigilant and to report any suspicious activities to the Iberville Sheriff’s Office (225) 687-5100, Plaquemine Police Department (225) 687-9273, or directly to L.E.A.D. Task Force (225) 687-5296.