Tangipahoa Sheriff releases statement after FBI raid

Tangipahoa Sheriff releases statement after FBI raid
Published: Dec. 15, 2016 at 5:18 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2016 at 3:19 PM CST
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UPDATE: As of the morning of December 16, both the Hammond Police Department and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office have been reopened for normal business.

Two major law enforcement agencies in Tangipahoa Parish were raided by the FBI Thursday morning, officials confirm. The Hammond Police Department and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office were raided Thursday, December 15.

On Friday, December 16, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards released the following statement:

As you know, yesterday the FBI executed search warrants at the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office and the Hammond Police Department in connection with the federal government's ongoing investigation into the DEA task force that had been operating in our parish.

I cannot provide any details about the investigation or the search warrant, because these matters are under seal by court order. I would tell you to direct any and all questions to the FBI.

I can tell you that my office has cooperated with the federal authorities since the beginning of their investigation, that aside from the two individuals who have been charged—Karl Newman and Johnny Domingue—no one in the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office has been notified that they are targets of the federal investigation, and that we will continue to cooperate with the federal government.

Additionally, I know that yesterday was an inconvenience to many of you who were trying to come in and pay your property taxes.  I want to apologize for that, and I want the public to know that we are open for business today and that my staff and the many fine sheriff's' deputies here are continuing their good work serving the citizens of our parish.

Lastly, it's that time of the year when there are many parties between now and the end of the year.  I implore each you to be responsible by buckling up, and never to drink and drive.

I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

"We are conducting multiple court authorized actions. The investigations are ongoing. We have no further comment on this time," said Craig Betbez, public information officer for the FBI New Orleans.

The Hammond Police Department buildings were on lockdown and the parking lots were blocked off for most of the afternoon Thursday.

The Advocate newspaper said three of its enforcement sources said the raid is related to a broader federal investigation of a drug task force that has come under scrutiny for allegedly selling confiscated narcotics and tampering with witnesses.

The task force included several members of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office and was led by Chad Scott, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency who has been suspended from duty as a result of the probe, the newspaper reported.

Two former members of the task force have been charged with stealing cash and drugs during raids, The Advocate reported.

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