Two EBR clerk employees arrested on theft, drug counts

Five people, including two employees of the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, were arrested in an ongoing local, state and federal investigation of 48 pounds of cocaine missing from a trial evidence vault, authorities said Friday.

William Bates Colvin, 30, of Baton Rouge, remained in custody Friday on allegations of theft, distribution of cocaine in excess of 400 grams and malfeasance in office, according to the Sheriff’s Office. His bail was set at $30,000.

Also arrested was Clerk of Court’s Office employee Debra Vicknair Bell, 55, who was jailed on allegations of malfeasance in office, theft and distribution of cocaine in excess of 400 grams. Bell, of Maurepas, was released Friday on a $30,000 bond.

Colvin is the son of state District Judge Kay Bates. The judge was in tears Friday afternoon.

“I didn’t know anything about it until (District Attorney) Hillar Moore called this morning,” Bates said. “I don’t have any comment at all.”

Affidavits by Baton Rouge Police Department officers say Colvin and Bell recruited people, including Bell’s son, Colt Bell, to distribute some of the missing cocaine. Those affidavits also say Colvin admitted to investigators that he stole 15.4 pounds of cocaine from the clerk’s evidence vault in October.

Moore declined to discuss details of the ongoing investigation.

Moore said it is too early to know whether the missing cocaine will jeopardize any criminal appellate cases.