State Trooper, Sheriff's Deputy arrested on corruption and racketeering charges

State Trooper, Sheriff's Deputy arrested on corruption and racketeering charges - 6 p.m.

LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - A Deputy with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office and a Trooper with the Louisiana State Police have both been arrested and charged with racketeering after an investigation into a narcotics arrest that happened in June 2014. Warrants have also been issued for the CEO of Knight Oil Tools and one of his employees. 

Lafayette Metro Narcotics Task Force arrested Bryan Knight in 2014 after being given an anonymous tip. Agents found two containers magnetically attached to the undercarriage of Bryan Knight's vehicle. Illegal narcotics were found in the containers.

In March 2015, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office received information alleging Bryan Knight's arrest was the result of a scheme purposely planned and staged.

During the investigation, deputies learned the magnetic cases recovered from the undercarriage of Knight's vehicle were purchased by Knight Oil Tools at the request of Russell Manual, an employee who answered directly to the CEO Mark Knight. The cases are manufactured to house GPS tracking devices.

The devices, along with emails and text messages to and from Russell Manual's cell phone, corroborated that Manual participated in a scheme to place drugs on Bryan Knight's vehicle and call law enforcement to arrange for the stop and arrest of Knight, according to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office.

According to court documents, two law enforcement officers were consulted to arrange for the stop and arrest of Bryan Knight; Jason Kinch, a Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Deputy, and Corey Jackson, a Louisiana State Trooper. 

Kinch and Jackson were consulted to provide specific information intended to enhance the possibilities of Bryan Knight's unlawful arrest. Through statements from Russell Manual, documents say Mark Knight did pay or arrange payment in excess of $100,000 in cash and gifts directly or indirectly to Kinch, Jackson and Manual in exchange for committing conspiracy.

Arrest warrants were issued for both Deputy Kinch and Trooper Jackson. 

On Saturday, April 11, Jackson was arrested by Troopers at Troop I headquarters in Lafayette and taken to the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center were he was booked on racketeering charges. He is being held on a $100,000 bond. Troopers seized all of Jackson's State Police issued equipment and immediately placed him on administrative leave pending a review of the case.

"I'm not sad. I'm irritated. I'm upset about it because the public demands we act better, and when we don't, this is what happens," said State Police Col. Mike Edmonson. "We demand that you treat that badge we've given you with dignity, respect and professionalism. That didn't happen here."

Deputy Jason Kinch was arrested Sunday, April 12. He was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on a $100,000 bond. He has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending an Internal Affairs investigation.

"Many of the employees are shocked, disappointed. It's a poor reflection on law enforcement. We take an oath to uphold the law and enforce the constitution of the state and the United States of America, and when we have an employee who violates that oath as well as the public trust, we act swiftly to remove that employee from a position of authority over our citizens that we are here to serve," said Lafayette Sheriff's Office's Chief Deputy Art LeBreton.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Mark Knight on the charge of racketeering. A warrant has also been issued for Russell Manual on the charges of criminal conspiracy, possession of cocaine, possession of lortab, possession of methadone, extortion and intimidating a witness. 

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