SBSO surprises dealers in early morning sweep

Mar 29th, 2013 | By | Category: Community

An SBSO Special Investigations Officer snaps a mugshot of a suspected drug offender arrested in the March 27 early morning round up. Officers involved in the large sweep dubbed “Operation Summer Heat Phase II” went after 32 suspected drug offenders.
Photo by Jessica Gonzalez

Over 30 suspected drug offenders got a harsh wake-up call on Wednesday morning by St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s deputies as the department began phase II of last September’s
“Operation Summer Heat.”

When Phase I ended, undercover officers hit the streets soon after, SBSO says, and through their efforts warrants for 32 suspects were secured. On March 4, six additional suspects were arrested and are in parish prison.

Among the first round of arrests during Phase II was Sanaa Halum, who was put on SBSO’s radar for selling marijuana and Suboxone, a drug for weaning people off heroin. After receiving information from a confidential informant, undercover officers began investigating marijuana distribution from the home of Halum and her boyfriend, Brandon
Celastaine. Soon after, narcotics agents found 10.4 pounds of marijuana hidden under her
child’s bed and about one gram of heroin and a loaded .40 caliber hand gun hidden in the
child’s bedroom closet.

With this second phase underway, Sheriff James Pohlmann says that his department is alarmed at growing heroin problem in the parish and will continue to aggressively seek
out dealers and buyers.

“We were angered by the number of people we were able to purchase heroin from [in this operation],” said Pohlmann on Phase II. “This is all-out war for the future of our parish. We have zero tolerance for drug-dealers. Users need rehabilitation but drug-dealers need to go to prison.’’

Pohlmann says that the recent arrests should make a dent in street sales in St. Bernard Parish and will hopefully send a message to dealers: there is a high probability of
being caught if selling within parish lines.

“One reason we enjoy a low level of violence in this parish is because we don’t let drug-dealers stand on corners and end up killing each other over drug turf and customers,”
said Pohlmann.

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