Baker police seize large marijuana stash

Officers with the Delta Narcotics Task Force arrested three people Thursday at a Plank Road mobile home park and seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana, a stolen firearm and $5,000 in cash, representatives of the multi-jurisdictional agency said.

Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps said the investigation leading to the drug seizure began with the recent arrest on drug counts of Lawrence LeBlanc, 36, 11558 Plank Road, and continued with “controlled buys” of drugs that gave officers enough information to obtain a search warrant for LeBlanc’s residence.

In addition to the marijuana, cash and the stolen gun, officers seized three bottles of anabolic steroids, a bottle of Lortab pills, drug paraphernalia and another handgun that had not been reported stolen, Knaps said.

Officers also arrested Stefanie Davis, 31, 11558 Plank Road; and Elzy Hollis, 36, 10708 Riley St., Clinton, Knaps said.

Knaps said the trailer park is “like an island” between Blount and Thomas roads, out of the jurisdiction of the Baker and Baton Rouge police departments, but the task force aims to ensure that criminals do not use the so-called “hidden islands” to escape police scrutiny.

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux called the arrests and seizures “a proud moment” for the task force, which was formed when Gautreaux was Baker’s police chief.

“This was a joint effort that would not have been possible without us working together,” the sheriff said.

Agencies making up the task force are the East Baton Rouge Parish, West Feliciana and Pointe Coupee sheriff’s offices; Baker, Zachary and St. Francisville police departments and the Baton Rouge Constable’s Office.

Police planned to book Le-Blanc with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of firearms in the presence of drugs and other counts. Counts against Davis and Hollis were pending.

Zachary Police Chief David McDavid, a veteran at working narcotics cases in northern East Baton Rouge Parish, described LeBlanc as “a major player” in the area’s drug trade. The suspect has a long record of arrests related to drug violations, McDavid and Knaps said.

“This is the root of all evil,” McDavid said, adding that the use and sale of drugs contributes to other types of crimes.

Pointe Coupee Sheriff “Bud” Torres said that police agencies, in an era of dwindling resources, cannot fund their narcotics investigations individually, and combining the resources and efforts of several agencies produces long-term dividends.

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s Maj. Ron Boucher said the seizure of 100 pounds of marijuana puts about 50 street-level dealers out of business for awhile.

Officers estimated the street value of the marijuana at $250,000.