Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said Wednesday his office has taken the unusual step of raiding another law enforcement agency in the parish, citing missing evidence and “sloppy” practices at the Grand Isle (LA) Police Department.
No police officers were arrested after the execution of a search warrant at Grand Isle police headquarters on Tuesday, and Normand stopped short of saying he would bring criminal charges. But the sheriff hinted at broader potential misconduct among officials in the small barrier-island town.
He said his agency’s undercover drug investigations in the area over the past few years, which have resulted in dozens of arrests, have been hampered by interference from the Grand Isle force.
“The island is kind of the end of the world,” Normand said. “Everybody knows everybody; everyone’s related to everybody.”
Grand Isle Police Chief Euris DuBois told the Advocate he was shocked when deputies wielding long guns appeared at his office on Tuesday, and he rejected the sheriff’s allegations of sloppy evidence storage. He also questioned why the Sheriff’s Office, instead of an agency outside the parish, was leading the investigation.
The inquiry into Grand Isle police, meanwhile, could create headaches for the office of Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. Normand said defense attorneys seize upon issues like poor evidence and record-keeping on behalf of clients who have been arrested or convicted based on cases made by sloppy police work.
On Tuesday, while some Jefferson deputies were arresting drug suspects, others surrounded the Grand Isle Police Department, then entered and searched the office.
Deputies found an evidence bag missing 87 grams of marijuana, a department cash box missing $4,000 and a gun in DuBois’ desk, according to Normand.
When investigators asked DuBois who owned the gun, he responded, “I don’t know.”
“It’s just not the way that business should be conducted,” Normand said. “I’m not suggesting that the chief did anything criminal. I don’t know. What we have is a bunch of missing evidence.”