Drug crackdown in Acadiana nets 251 arrests

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft, center, holds a press conference Wednesday on the results of a large, anti-drug operation throughout Acadiana. Behind Craft, from left, are Lafayette Police Capt. Dwayne Prejean, Maj. Ned Fawler, Capt. John Babin and Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft, center, holds a press conference Wednesday on the results of a large, anti-drug operation throughout Acadiana. Behind Craft, from left, are Lafayette Police Capt. Dwayne Prejean, Maj. Ned Fawler, Capt. John Babin and Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout.

Success in 2013 prompts law agencies to hit street-level trade

A three-day, multiparish crackdown on street-level drug activity this month netted 251 arrests and nearly $96,894 in illegal narcotics, local law enforcement leaders announced Wednesday.

The operation, called “A New Resolution,” was a joint effort by agencies in Lafayette, Acadia, St. Landry, St. Martin, Vermilion and Iberia parishes that focused on taking down buyers and sellers in drug deals on the street.

That drug activity often spawns other crimes, either violence associated with the drug trade or thefts and robberies committed by drug addicts trying to pay for a fix, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said.

“Street-level sales drive our crime rate,” he said.

Craft said the stepped-up enforcement effort ran from Jan. 14 to Jan. 17.

“That’s almost $100,000 in illegal narcotics taken off the street in this three-day operation,” the chief said.

It follows two similar operations last year that focused on Lafayette Parish — “Spring Cleaning” in May, “Fall Time Blues” in September.

The two prior operations were so effective, Craft said, that Lafayette law enforcement agencies thought it would be good idea to broaden the work to adjoining parishes.

“We all know that crime doesn’t recognize the city limits,” he said.

The 251 arrests included alleged drug dealers and their clients, as well as people wanted on outstanding warrants for a variety of charges, said Lafayette Metro Narcotics Task Force Capt. John Babin.

He said 96 of the 251 arrests were in Lafayette Parish, with the remainder the five adjoining parishes.

Officers also issued 179 citations, seized four guns and one vehicle, and recovered $34,835 in stolen property, according to figures provided by the Lafayette Police Department.

The $96,894 worth of seized drugs included marijuana, prescription pills, cocaine, methamphetamines, steroids, PCP and synthetic marijuana, according to the figures.

More than 15 different agencies participated in the“A New Resolution” crackdown, and Babin said each agency pledged dedicated officers that gave their full attention to street-level drug activity.

“This is something we are hoping to do every three or four months to let people know we are out there,” Babin said.’

Babin said the hope is that the focused enforcement on drug activity will help pull down overall crime.

“I think a lot of the crime we are seeing, it starts there,” he said.