Story by Pat Culverhouse, firstname.lastname@example.org
A suspect arrested for drug theft in Minden last week could have victims in Bossier Parish.
Ronald D. “Ronny” Veitch, 57, was arrested Wednesday by Webster Parish Sheriff’s investigators on Sheppard Street shortly after he left his place of business, Anti-Pest Veitch Inc., located in the 200 block of Murrell Street in Minden, Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said.
Veitch has been booked at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center on four counts of obtaining CDS Sch. II by fraud, four counts of crimes against an aged person, one count of attempt to obtain CDS Sch. II by fraud, and one count each of possession of CDS Sch. II (Morphine) with intent, possession of a Legend drug (Tramadol) with intent and possession of CDS Sch. II (Oxycodone), Sexton said.
Wednesday’s arrest capped an investigation which began roughly two months ago, the sheriff said, when individuals reported prescription medications missing after visits by Veitch.
“All the victims reported that Veitch would come to their residence without being called. He would tell them he was there to do a termite inspection, then ask them to step outside the residence,” Sexton said. “He would have a large spray can and wear a mask to make them think he was performing a service.”
Sexton said Veitch would remain inside the residence only a few minutes, apparently using the time to search for medications. To be sure the inspection was not legitimate, investigators reportedly contacted several pest control companies to see if the method being used was proper.
“Every company we contacted told us that was not the proper procedure to follow for a termite inspection,” the sheriff said.
All the victims in this latest series of incidents are more than 60 years of age and were former customers, Sexton said. Detectives reportedly are still looking into how Veitch knew which individuals would likely have prescription pain killers.
The Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office is aware that Veitch has clients in Bossier Parish.
If anyone feels they have been a victim, call the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office at 377-1515 and ask for a detective.
Additional charges of criminal damage to property and introducing contraband into a prison facility were filed against Veitch when a piece of contraband was found concealed on his person during a pre-incarceration search at BDCC, Sexton added.
“While he was waiting to be taken to BDCC, he apparently broke a piece of wood off a chair in the interview room and concealed it on his person,” the sheriff said. “It was a sharp object shaped like a shank (self-styled knife) and he brought it into the prison.”
Sexton said when investigators placed Veitch in custody, they immediately found evidence that he was illegally in possession of prescription drugs.
“At the time of his arrest Wednesday, Veitch had a pharmacy brand pain reliever bottle containing 31 morphine tablets,” Sexton said. “He told our detectives he did not have a prescription for the morphine.”
Investigators reportedly received permission from Veitch to search his business and his work truck. Sexton said officers found prescription pill bottles under his desk, in his motorcycle and work truck containing a total of 158 pills for which he had no prescription.
This arrest comes only two months after Veitch received early termination of a three-year probation term for drug and theft charges.
Veitch was first arrested for middle grade theft and possession of CDS Sch. II in 2012, Sexton said. According to court documents, he appeared before a 26th Judicial Court Judge Joseph Bleich and entered a guilty plea to the possession charge.
Records show he was sentenced Aug. 20, 2012, to four years at hard labor with all but six months of that sentence suspended. Veitch avoided jail time when he was granted credit for time served at the Odyssey House, a behavioral healthcare facility in New Orleans with an emphasis on addiction treatment. He was placed on three years active probation with special conditions.