DA gives drug-seized money to BSO

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Bossier and Webster Parishes District Attorney Schuyler Marvin (right) presents to Bossier Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Charlie Owens monies totaling $7,829.37 from assets seized in drug arrests over the past several months.

Bossier and Webster Parish District Attorney Schuyler Marvin recently presented Bossier Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charlie Owens monies totaling $7,829.37 from assets seized in drug arrests over the past several months.

The funds represent a portion of the vehicles, other property, monies and bank accounts that were seized in various narcotics cases.

“The message should be clear to criminals. They will not be able to operate and profit from their illegal activities in Bossier Parish,” said Marvin. “Drug abuse is one of the main motivating factors behind 80 percent of the crimes committed. Drug dealers caught can count on being punished and receiving strong sentences upon conviction.”

Ridding the streets of drug dealers was exemplified during this week’s “Operation Summer Sweep,” a joint venture between Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington and Bossier City Police Department Chief Shane McWilliams to make multiple drug arrests. The two agencies joined forces last year to form the Bossier Combined Narcotics Task Force to better combat illegal drug activity throughout Bossier Parish.

“Our detectives made 32 arrests in one day during a roundup of drug warrant cases in which people were wanted for dealing cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine,” said Whittington. “Operation Summer Sweep shows our commitment to keeping drugs off of our streets and away from our children. The funds received from the DA’s Office will be used to help booster that fight.”

During Marvin’s tenure, the District Attorney’s Office has returned nearly $1.8 million in forfeited assets to local law enforcement and other governmental agencies, which, in turn, saves thousands of taxpayer dollars that otherwise would have paid out of their local budgets.

The presentation comes not long after the Western District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service presented more than $119,000 to Marvin’s office as part of the successful completion of a U.S. Attorney’s Office forfeiture case.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said the money came from a seizure of U.S. currency following a routine traffic stop by Louisiana State Police troopers on Feb. 12, 2012. Finley said the vehicle, which was driven by Kelman Hernandez Cortorreal and had two passengers, Cesar Maldonado and Ramon Reyes, was stopped for traffic violations.

A K-9 alerted on the vehicle, and the troopers searched the vehicle, whereupon they found large amounts of currency in various hidden compartments.

The troopers seized the money under state money-laundering violations.