May 22, 2019  |  10:09 am

Detectives with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force and troopers from Louisiana State Police Region I Narcotics concluded a lengthy investigation Wednesday (May 22) with numerous search warrants and arrests being made related to a drug trafficking organization based out of Slidell. 

Detectives and troopers identified the leaders of the organization as Jason Hotard and Kasey Johnson, along with their girlfriends Dawn Herbert and Turquoise Gillum. 

The drug trafficking organization was responsible for the distribution of heroin and other controlled dangerous substances in St. Tammany Parish, Orleans Parish and in south Mississippi. The investigation resulted in detectives and troopers identifying 32 other individuals as being part of the drug trafficking organization and having participated in the aforementioned criminal activity. 

Arrests warrants were issued for all parties known to be involved, and on Wednesday morning, search warrants were executed at 11 different locations, both residences and businesses.  The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics provided resources and manpower to execute at least one search warrant in southern Mississippi.  The Louisiana Department of Corrections – Division of Probation and Parole in addition to The Department of Homeland Security (HSI) also assisted in executing arrest warrants. 

The organization’s base of operation was identified as Roussell Towing, a Slidell-area towing business. The leaders would use this business to store and package large quantities of heroin and subsequently distribute the heroin throughout St. Tammany Parish, Orleans Parish and south Mississippi. 

Through the course of the investigation, detectives and troopers uncovered a second business associated with this drug trafficking organization. That business, Aariel Recovery, was advertised as a substance abuse clinic and is co-owned by Herbert. 

“These dealers are selling extremely dangerous illegal drugs in our community,” Sheriff Randy Smith said. “We are continuing our aggressive attack on drug dealers and sending a clear message that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated.”

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force is composed of detectives from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Mandeville Police Department.  Anonymous narcotics tips can be provided on the STPSO website, www.stpso.com, or by calling 1-888-GO-2-JAIL.