NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In a federal indictment of six men, three law enforcement officers were charged Thursday with trafficking in contraband cigarettes.
New Orleans police officers Justin Brown and Joshua Carthon and Orleans sheriff's deputy Garrett Partman were arrested Wednesday along with Jadallah Saed and Anwar Abdelmajid-Ahmad, both of Gretna, and Atalla Atalla of Wilmington, N.C. They're accused of conspiring to evade federal tobacco taxes.
Court documents say the defendants would buy cigarettes and cigars in Louisiana and then sell them in North Carolina and other states where cigarette taxes are higher.
According to the indictment, the officers were used to protect and transport the contraband cigarettes across state lines.
NOPD Chief Michael Harrison released the following statement:
"I expect NOPD officers to serve our community with integrity and to follow the law, our departmental policies and our training. Today's indictments are an example of the strong partnership that exists in Louisiana between local, state and federal law enforcement to ensure that our officers are held accountable for their actions.
"In partnership with federal law enforcement, the Public Integrity Bureau, which includes members of the FBI, investigated these allegations from the start. Based on the evidence uncovered, the NOPD officers involved have been arrested and placed on emergency suspension without pay."