18 face drug charges after Louisiana bust

Published 10:09 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eighteen people face multiple drug charges after their arrests last week by Louisiana state and parish authorities, Louisiana State Police spokesman Trooper Albert Paxton said.

The arrests were the result of a joint investigation by the state police Bureau of Investigations, Tensas Parish Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Homeland Security into a drug-trafficking organization that had ties to a Mexican drug cartel accused of moving large amounts of marijuana and cocaine into the Tensas Parish area from Texas.

Residents of Waterproof, La., who were arrested are Paula M. Williams, 31, Antoinette S. Lewis, 23, Elisha Ann Hillard, 27, Derrick L. Fields, 42, Curtis T. Cephus, 36, Morris O. Clark, 23, James Cephus, 33, Darshiana Edwards, 23, Mark Bethel, 35, Samantha Cephus, 43, Jeanetta Gill, 35, and Steven Ross, 29. From Ferriday: Brandon O. Daniels, 37, and Kenya Cephus Simmons, 32.

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Others are Craig Carter, 51, Houston, Texas; Jeremy Walsworth, 20, Vidalia, La.; Maurice Devine, 35, New Orleans; and Lemar E. Reese, 33, Clayton, La.

All 18 are accused of conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute, conspiracy to possess schedule II drugs with the intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conducting activity involving proceeds from drug transactions. They also face a charge of violating the federal Racketeering Act.

Authorities also seized about $100,000 in cash, weapons, more than 100 pounds of marijuana, and about 90 ounces of cocaine.

The arrests occurred over several days with state troopers and Tensas Parish and Concordia Parish, La. sheriff’s deputies participating in the roundup. More arrests were expected, Paxton said.

Bond information was unavailable.