131 people arrested, 12 kilos seized in largest fentanyl bust in St. Tammany history
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “Operation Heat Wave” was a summer operation with a primary focus to combat illegal drugs and violent crime in Slidell. It led to the largest fentanyl seizure in the history of St. Tammany Parish.
“We’re seeing record numbers of overdoses, especially with fentanyl. We’re seeing deaths, at least one a week, sometimes more. Just seeing that, we knew we had to combat this,” says Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal.
Many of the investigations extended beyond Slidell and prompted police to reach out to federal and state partners. The FBI, DEA, and Homeland Security became involved.
“Major drug traffickers are attempting to set up shop here in our community because they feel safe and they have easy access to New Orleans the surrounding areas to distribute their narcotics,” says Chief Fandal.
Nearly 12 kilos of fentanyl, worth $300,000, was taken off the street. The arrests led to a federal indictment. Heroin, meth, and cocaine were also seized. Nineteen guns, most of them stolen, were taken off the street.
In all, 131 people were arrested. One of those arrests was for murder, which stemmed from a fentanyl overdose in Slidell.
The Slidell Police Chief says with the drug trade, comes carjackings, robberies, and even murder that unfolded across the New Orleans Metro area.
“Removing this poison from our streets, and taking these weapons away from the criminals, has made our community a safer place to live, but we can’t stop here,” says Chief Fandal.
“These criminal organizations are flooding our streets, our borders with these drugs and narcotics that kill our children, our brothers, our sisters. It has to stop,” says Homeland Security SAC Edward Owens.
The investigations continue and police are asking for the public’s help. They’re asking the community to call Crimestoppers to report any criminal activity.
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