Under pressure, judge revokes bond for accused drug dealer

After public scrutiny and a plea from prosecutors, District Court Judge Tarvald Smith revoked the low bond he had previously set.
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 5:38 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 10:35 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - After public scrutiny and a plea from prosecutors, District Court Judge Tarvald Smith revoked the low bond he had previously set for an accused large-scale drug dealer in Baton Rouge.

After public scrutiny and a plea from prosecutors, District Court Judge Tarvald Smith revoked the low bond he had previously set.

The move came just hours after District Attorney Hillar Moore filed an official court motion Thursday October 6, asking the judge to reconsider the bond.

Moore’s motion asked Smith to deny bond altogether or to vastly increase the current $43,000 bond amount the judge set Wednesday for 27-year-old Hakeem James Allen. Under that bond amount, Allen could have be released for $5,160 through a bail bondsman.

Judge Tarvald Smith, 19th JDC
Judge Tarvald Smith, 19th JDC(WAFB)

Allen was arrested earlier this week on nearly two dozen counts of drugs and weapons charges. In his motion, Moore told the court that Allen allegedly admitted to East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies that he owned the 8 guns, including two assault rifles and two shotguns, they seized during their investigation.

Moore also said, based on the large amount of drugs and weapons seized in the case, Allen “poses a clear risk to public safety if released on bond.”

The district attorney’s motion says deputies seized a half-pound of fentanyl in the case, “which is almost 450 lethal doses of this extremely dangerous drug.” His motion also says deputies seized two hydraulic presses used to “cut” heroin and fentanyl. He says the presses both had fentanyl residue on them.

Moore issued a statement late Wednesday saying thinks more consideration should have been given to the bond amount in this case based on the seriousness of the allegations against Allen.

In a statement, Moore said he is pleased with the judge’s decision to revoke bond. “I applaud the court’s decision to hear the State’s motion and consider the more detailed information provided and the photos of multiple illegal guns and drugs seized by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office in this matter,” Moore said. “Everyone in the criminal justice process has difficult jobs to do based on the information and evidence at our disposal. My office will meet with the Sheriff’s Office soon to review the evidence and reports to make a proper and timely billing decision. We will also reach out to our federal partners for further discussion and collaboration.”

Moore’s new statement came on the heels of one he issued late Wednesday saying he thinks the judge should have given more consideration to the bond amount based on the seriousness of the allegations against Allen.

As deputies tried to arrest Allen Tuesday October 4, they say he ran off while tossing drugs as well as a handgun with an extended magazine.

“I respect the difficult role that judges have in setting bonds: balancing public safety and constitutional rights,” Moore said Wednesday. “In my opinion, given the hundreds of lethal doses of fentanyl as well as the presence of an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, the risk to public safety if the defendant was released should have received more consideration when setting bond. The current bond will surely allow the release of these defendants, albeit with some ankle monitoring. My office will review this case immediately amongst ourselves and the Sheriff’s office to determine if any additional facts exist that would warrant a reconsideration of the bond amount under these facts and circumstances.”

Allen was eventually captured and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 17 different counts including:

  • Distribution Fentanyl (3 counts)
  • Distribution of Heroin (3 counts)
  • Poss. of a Firearm with CDS
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWITD) Fentanyl
  • PWITD Heroin
  • PWITD Methamphetamine
  • PWITD Crack Cocaine
  • PWITD Powder Cocaine
  • PWITD Marijuana
  • PWITD Oxycodone
  • Poss. of a Firearm with Drugs
  • Poss. of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Resisting by flight
Unifrom Order Fixing Appearance Bond
Unifrom Order Fixing Appearance Bond(EBRSO)

This week’s arrest of Allen was his fifth arrest since 2015, court records show. Prior arrests include charges of possession of drugs, illegal use of a weapon and aggravated assault, records show.

Deputies say, in this most recent case, they started surveillance on Allen after getting a tip that he allegedly sold drugs to a person who overdosed and died last year.

Detectives say a church on Paige Street in Baton Rouge was among the locations Allen and his co-conspirators allegedly used to sell drugs.

While executing search warrants on the church and two other locations, deputies reported they recovered the following:

Seized Narcotics and Currency (approx. totals)

· ½ pound of Fentanyl (approx. street value $18,000)/(approx. 448 lethal doses)

· 20 grams of Methamphetamine

· 9 grams of crack cocaine

· 20 grams of powder cocaine

· 42 dosage units of Hydrocodone

· 18 THC vape cartridges

· 8 ounces of Marijuana

· 1 pint of Promethazine syrup

· 5 pounds of Mannitol (used to cut fentanyl and heroin)

· 100 dosages of Suboxone

· (2) Fentanyl/heroin presses

· Numerous digital scales with drug residue

· $71,563 (pending seizure)

Seized firearms (8 total)

· Glock handgun (9mm)

· Glock handgun with SBR style brace (9mm)

· Glock handgun (9mm)

· Phoenix handgun (25 caliber)

· Ar-15 style rifle (5.56 caliber)

· AK-47 style rifle (7.62 caliber)

· AK-47 style semi-automatic shotgun (12 gauge)

· Bolt action shotgun (20 gauge)

· 400 rounds of 5.56 ammo/200 rounds of .40 caliber ammo

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