NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - On Monday, troopers assigned to the Mardi Gras 2016 detail arrested six people, one of whom is responsible for at least 10 armed bank robberies and eight armed robberies in various locations across the Southeast, according to a State Police news release.
Christopher Simms, 30, of New Orleans, was arrested at 5:45 p.m. after troopers allegedly heard him telling a driver in the 900 block of Canal Street that he would have shot his car if it had hit him. During questioning, troopers learned that Simms had five open warrants for his arrest: two for armed robbery in Jefferson Parish, two for armed robbery in New Orleans and one for armed robbery in Kenner.
The Orleans robberies occurred Monday at the Family Dollar on Canton Street and the Liberty Bank on Canal. Police said Simms also confessed to robbing at least 10 banks at gunpoint, two banks in each of the following states: Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana; and one in Tennessee and Mississippi. Police said he also admitted to armed robberies in west Louisiana and Mississippi. Simms was booked into Central Lock-up. LSP detectives are continuing their investigation with the FBI, NOPD, JPSO, KPD and other outside state agencies.
In another incident, troopers were on foot patrol in the 1000 block of Bienville Street just after 8 p.m. when they allegedly saw 29-year-old Basin Wells conduct a drug sale from a 2009 Nissan Maxima in a private parking lot. As troopers approached the vehicle, they saw drugs and guns in the vehicle, and Wells and three other suspects were taken into custody, police said. During a search of the vehicle, Troopers seized three illegal guns, 47 grams of heroin, 3.5 grams of marijuana, two bottles of Promethazine, nearly $14,000 in cash and a stolen license plate.
- Detectives are working with NOPD and are continuing the investigation. Additional charges may be forthcoming. The following individuals were booked into Central Lock-Up on the following charges:
- Basin Wells: possession with intent to distribute heroin
- LilBear George, age 26, of New Orleans: possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance, possession of stolen property
- Kalique Hardin, age 18, of Hinesville, Ga: possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance
- Sidney Lebanks, age 27, of New Orleans: possession of heroin, possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance and felon in possession of a firearm
"These arrests are the direct result of proactive and consistent police work", Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said in a news release. "We will continue to arrest individuals that choose to participate in criminal activity and attempt to prey on our residents. That has been my commitment to the citizens, tourists and City of New Orleans. Our commitment does not end because Mardi Gras is over, our work does not stop! We will continue to support New Orleans and we will take these individuals off the streets and protect our communities."