More arrests made in St. Tammany heroin bust

33 now in custody, more arrests coming

Don Ames
May 25, 2019 - 10:24 am
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14 more people are under arrest in connection with a major narcotics investigation in St. Tammany, bringing the total to 33.

The parish Sheriff's office says detectives are still working to identify and arrest at least six more people in connection with the case.

The first 19 arrests were announced by Sheriff Randy Smith on May 24th, after deputies executed search warrants at 11 locations. Two dozen guns and half a kilo of heroin were seized that morning.

According to information released by the sheriff's office, the drug ring was running out of Slidell.  

Jason Hotard and Kasey Johnson have been identified by investigators as the leaders of the organization, along with their girlfriends Dawn Herbert and Turquoise Gillum.

The sheriff's office said the organization's base of operation was identified as Roussell Towing, a towing business located on Hardin Road.

Authorities say the leaders would use the business to store and package large quantities of heroin and then distribute the drug throughout St. Tammany and Orleans parishes, as well as south Mississippi.

Investigators say Aariel Recovery, another Slidell business which was advertised as a substance abuse clinic co-owned by Herbert, was also associated with the crime ring.

"These types of drug trafficking organizations will be vigorously prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office in collaboration with our law enforcement partners," said District Attorney Warren Montgomery. "Like we have done since we took office in 2015, we will continue to pursue those who distribute these poisonous substances in our community and elsewhere. No matter where they try to hide out, they will be pulled into this parish and brought to justice.

Sheriff  Smith said the recent epidemic of heroin overdoses resulted in 80 deaths in St. Tammany alone in 2018.

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