‘Clean Streets Project’ nets 135 drug arrests

A multi-agency police drug operation targeting drivers and passengers carrying drugs, implemented across south Louisiana during four days last week, netted more than eight pounds of cocaine, a pound of marijuana and other illegal drugs that resulted in 135 arrests, officials said Tuesday.

Dubbed “A Clean Streets Project,” the operation, which involved 17 local, state and federal agencies, was initiated by Lafayette Metro Narcotics and headed by Capt. John Babin. It was conducted May 14 through May 17.

Also confiscated was $54,615 in cash and stolen items, with nearly $52,000 in cash seized in one Broussard Police Department traffic stop May 14 when officers allegedly found drugs and cash in hidden parts of the vehicle.

State Police Troop I Commander Capt. Becket Breaux, whose officers participated in the project, said the operation provides a deterrent for those thinking about transporting illegal drugs in a vehicle.

“If you have drugs in your car … we’re going to find you, arrest you and we’re going to seize it,” Breaux said.

Breaux joined members and heads of 17 other agencies Tuesday at Scott City Hall to announce the results.

Scott Police Chief Chad Leger, whose officers were part of the operation, said dozens of officers from the participating agencies concentrated on stopping drivers suspected of transporting drugs.

He said the operation needed to transcend municipal and parish lines.

Leger also said the cooperation needed among agencies to pull off a Clean Streets Project was not practiced just a few years ago. He said police agencies tended to be insular when he began his career.

Other agencies that participated in the operation were city police departments in Lafayette, Carencro, Crowley, Rayne and Youngsville, and sheriff’s offices in the parishes of Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Mary, Acadia and Iberia. Also involved was the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office, Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In the five-parish area, officers confiscated almost 10 grams of crack cocaine and 8.4 pounds of powder cocaine, 150 illegal pharmaceutical pills, 34 grams of methamphetamine and 31 grams of synthetic marijuana and one gram of pure heroin. The powder cocaine alone had a street value of more than $381,000, according to figures provided at the news conference.

The confiscated drugs listed included 1.1 pounds of “Kon Bud Marijuana” with a street value of $10,360, according to the figures.

Officers wrote 165 citations during the stops and seized four guns, the figures state.