Judge orders inventory check of evidence room where cocaine was stolen
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A judge has ordered an inventory check of the evidence room inside the new 19th Judicial Courthouse in Baton Rouge where nearly 50 pounds of cocaine was stolen.
Greg Brown is the chief deputy at the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court Office. He is tasked with carrying out a court order issued by District Court Chief Judge Mike Erwin.
"It is hereby ordered...that the clerk of court conduct a full and complete inventory of all of the evidence that is within the custody of the clerk of court and take any and all measures appropriate therewith," the order reads in part.
"A national accredited consultant firm to come in and give us the opportunity to evaluate our process, our present process, and improve upon that, so that something of this magnitude never ever happens again," Brown said.
"Right now, the evidence room, the clerk of court's evidence room, the room has been locked down," added District Attorney Hillar Moore. "It's secure, it has a completely different lock system, so for now, nobody is going in that room unless it's absolutely necessary because we know the judge is going to order an inventory. So, right now, the room is secure and we're happy with what's going on in there right now, but we want a complete inventory as well. We want to know what's there."
Recently, 22 kilos of cocaine was stolen from the evidence room. The theft led to the arrests of five people, including two courthouse workers. Now, two keys are required to open the room.
"We can't get in without them. They can't get in without us. We think that's a good step. But, we are going to have to put cameras in different places. We know we're going to have a key pad with a thumb print to get in there. We're going to have a lot of procedures and we're going to have an independent audit every month," Brown explained.
The clerk's office is reaching out to bring in a quality inventory inspector.
"Until the auditor, the nationally recognized auditor, comes in and do the inventory. As you know, Judge Erwin has a court order to conduct an audit of the whole evidence room for the East Baton Rouge Clerk's Office," Brown added.
The auditors are expected to arrive just after the first of the year. They will also devise a plan for the clerk's office to use once they leave, in order to make certain the room is not pilfered again.
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