Iberville anti-drug task force arrests 37 suspects

Iberville Parish law enforcement authorities arrested 37 alleged prescription drug dealers Thursday as part of an undercover investigation called Operation Prescribed Justice, according to a news release.

The drug sting began in the morning and was conducted throughout the day by the Law Enforcement Against Drugs Task Force formed by the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office and Plaquemine Police Department, the release states.

Undercover officers had been secretly targeting suspected drug dealers in the parish for several months before presenting evidence to a parish grand jury, which issued more than 60 sealed indictments for prosecution in 18th Judicial District Court, the release states.

Sheriff Brett Stassi said in the release the undercover agents had placed special emphasis on prescription drug pushers because illicit prescription drug dealing had become a “serious problem” in the parish.

Undercover officers made dozens of illegal prescription drug purchases from unsuspecting dealers throughout Plaquemine and other parts of Iberville Parish, Stassi said.

“I have been approached by countless concerned citizens regarding the prescription drug abuse in Iberville since I took office in July,” Stassi said. “Because of high security around this investigation, I have been very tight-lipped about what we were doing to combat this problem. Operation Prescribed Justice has been even more successful than I had anticipated, and this is only the beginning.”

Stassi said the 37 people arrested Thursday were booked into the parish jail on various drug-related counts.