20 arrests made during 'Operation Mardi Gras Cleanup'

WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - An undercover drug operation in West Baton Rouge revealed a bigger problem. Investigators discovered most of the arrests were made in the City of Port Allen.

Law enforcement officials said they are working on a plan to get it under control.

They walked out of the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office with their faces buried in shame. Authorities said they arrested 20 people in an undercover drug investigation dubbed "Operation Mardi Gras Cleanup."

One suspect admitted he uses drugs. But some of them insisted they are innocent.

"I don't know why I've been arrested. I just got woke up out of my bed at four o'clock this morning," one woman said.

"All I want to say is I was just walking to work. They (narcotics agents) harassed me and checked my pockets," another suspect said.

West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Corporal Richie Johnson said the arrests were the result of a six month undercover investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies.

"It was six agencies involved in the cases that were made. Some of them provided logistical support and others assisted in the arrests made," Cpl. Richie Johnson said.

Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown, who recently took office, said it was a big wake up call.

"They been selling out of homes, street corners, any areas you can think of, in stores. It's pretty bad," Brown said.

Chief Brown said he plans to expand patrols in the city and have more officers trained to take down dealers. Authorities said they will do whatever it takes to let them know they mean business.

"Don't do drugs. It's been around one hundred years. Leave it alone. No tolerance. Zero tolerance," Cpl. Johnson said.

Eight people are still at large.

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