By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Picayune Police officers made several drug arrests during routine patrols or traffic stops.
One case had two parts, where 30-year-old Wayne Edwards of 412 Cedar Grove Ave., Apt. 3 was arrested twice in a three-day span for drug violations.
Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri said Edwards’ first arrest occurred on March 15, when an officer on patrol saw a vehicle parked at the Nicholson Shell gas station at 2 a.m., when the business is closed.
The officer pulled to a vantage point to watch the vehicle just as another vehicle pulled up next to the first, Magri said. Since the scene appeared to be a drug transaction, the officer pulled up to the two vehicles to investigate further, Magri said.
The occupants of the vehicles were asked to go get out of their vehicles, including Edwards who was in the back seat of one of the vehicles. Magri said during his interactions with Edwards, the officer detected the odor of marijuana on him, and the officer also noticed a syringe sitting on Edwards’ seat.
Edwards was taken into custody for possession of paraphernalia, and a search of his person found five Suboxone films in his wallet. Edwards was charged additionally with possession of a controlled substance and the $157 in his wallet was seized, Magri said.
On Sunday, two days after the first arrest, an officer patrolling the area of the RaceTrak gas station saw Edwards appeared to be intoxicated. Magri said the officer spoke with Edwards and conducted a pat down, finding a metal spoon with burned residue on it he believed to be from drug use. Edwards was charged with possession of paraphernalia and asked if he had any other illegal items in his possession, to which he replied, “Naw, you got my needle the other night when you arrested me,” Magri read from the report.
The officer asked how Edwards got to the station. Magri said Edwards told the officer he got a ride there with friends in order to purchase cigarettes. The officer then saw the vehicle Edwards described leaving the scene. The officer called for a patrol unit to conduct a stop on the fleeing vehicle, but it turned back into the gas station, Magri said.
The officer then spoke with the driver of the vehicle, 24-year-old Dominick Ricca, of 10 Draph Lane, Carriere, who said he came back to check on Edwards. Since Edwards had been in the vehicle, the officer requested, and was granted, consent to search, Magri said. Both Ricca and his passenger, 24-year-old Kacie Gaude, also of 10 Draph Lane, were asked to get out of the vehicle and a pat down was conducted.
Magri said during the pat down the officer found 17 Suboxone films in Gaude’s rear pocket, causing both Gaude and Ricca to be charged with possession of a controlled substance.
In another case that occurred on March 15, officers came into contact with 32-year-old Dustin Berghman of 34 Jarrell Rd., Carriere. Magri said while patrolling the area of West Union Road, a vehicle stop was conducted for no tag light. While speaking with Berghman, who was the driver, the officer noticed his speech was slurred and the smells of intoxicating beverage and burned marijuana, leading the officer to request Berghman to submit to a field sobriety test.
Berghman agreed and as a result was charged with DUI, Magri said. A search of his vehicle found a beer and a bag of marijuana. Magri said Berghman was additionally charged with possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle, no insurance and no tag light, Magri said.
On March 16, officers saw a vehicle parked in the median of Interstate 59, the driver of which was identified as 51-year-old Janet Bonneval-Jones of 361 Maple Leaf Dr., Slidell, La., Magri said. The officer noticed that the vehicle was still running and in gear while Bonneval-Jones was asleep at the wheel, Magri said.
The officer had to shake Bonneval-Jones several times to awaken her and signs of intoxication were noticed, Magri said. A field sobriety test was conducted, leading to her being charged with DUI, Magri said. He said a search of her vehicle was conducted in which the officer found a Crown Royal bag with what the officer believed to be marijuana inside. Upon her arrival at the Criminal Justice Center, Bonneval-Jones was searched, and the officer found two Xanax and a Klonopin on her person, but she declined to submit to a blood test, Magri said.
Bonneval-Jones was charged with DUI refused test, possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle and possession of a controlled substance, Magri said.
On March 14, an officer conducting a stop on Liberty Road for no tag light came into contact with 33-year-old Jody Bean of 35 Panther Circle. A check of Bean’s driver’s license discovered it was expired, leading the officer to request Bean step out of the vehicle, Magri said. A search of Bean’s person found a burned, hand-rolled cigarette containing a substance believed to be marijuana, causing Bean to be charged with possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle, no tag light, no insurance and driving while license suspended, Magri said.
Again on March 15, officers conducting a stop at Cooper Road and Sycamore Road for no headlights came into contact with 27-year-old Maurice Carmouch of 1017 Kennedy Dr., Arnaudville, La., Magri said Officers searched his vehicle after getting consent and found a pill bottle in the center console containing two types of Hydrocodone pills, totaling 34 pills, leading him to be charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, Magri said.
On March 10, officers conducting a stop on a vehicle for one headlight found 56-year-old Paul Steckel of 213 Dumas Wise Rd., behind the wheel, Magri said. During the stop the officer detected the odor of intoxicating beverage and saw an open beer in plain sight, Magri said. Steckel was asked to get out of the vehicle and the vehicle was searched and the officer found three Hydrocodone pills on the driver’s side floorboard, Magri said.
Steckel was charged with possession of open beer, possession of a controlled substance, improper equipment and no proof of insurance, Magri said.