Posts tagged ‘tony mancuso’

OFFENDER CRACKDOWN: To catch a predator

Jindal: New legislation could strengthen sex offender laws

Local law enforcement officials and legislators stand with Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday as he announces sex offense legislation at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office. BY KAREN E. WINK

Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday outlined five bills meant to strengthen sex offender laws.

One would add 10 to 20 years to the sentences of those convicted of child pornography and who have file-sharing software installed on their computers.

The software typically used to share music files has become more prevalent among people in possession of child pornography, police said.

“The new language creates a presumption that if you have the files and the software, you will also be charged with production and distribution,” Jindal said at a news conference in Lake Charles.

Jindal discussed additional sentencing in the computer-aided solicitation statute — seven to 10 years more if the offender has sexual contact with a juvenile who is at least five years younger than him.

Jindal said a third bill would allow state police and sheriffs to get administrative subpoenas in child exploitation cases.

“This will allow the officer to get billing information, names and phone numbers of a person suspected of downloading pornography or having inappropriate contact with a juvenile,” he said.

The fourth bill would allow law enforcement officers to seize property used in the commission of a sex crime and use it as a source of income.

“We will seize your computer, and we will seize the car you drove to commit the crime,” Jindal said.

The final bill focuses on habitual sex offenders. Current statutes don’t impose more severe penalties for sexual offenses until the third and subsequent crimes.

Jindal said politicians conferred with district attorneys’ and sheriffs’ associations to get firsthand knowledge about situations that police and prosecutors encounter.

He said it will be easy to get the bills passed.

Jindal ended the news conference with a message to parents.

“I’m going to always push for the toughest laws, but we have a responsibility as parents to monitor what our kids are doing online and who they are talking to,” Jindal said. “It’s a different world now from when we grew up.”


March 3, 2010 at 6:51 pm Leave a comment

Smash and grab

Two men wanted in nine Calcasieu burglaries

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on two men they believe have committed nine smash-and-grab burglaries at convenience stores.

Since Dec. 24, someone broke into the stores — all in rural areas — by either ramming the front door with a truck or breaking it open with a sledgehammer, said Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

He said all of the trucks used were stolen, usually at night, with the owners not discovering and reporting the thefts until the morning.

“We believe it’s two people, stealing the whole register or safe and sometimes cartons of cigarettes and store goods,” Mancuso said.

He said the suspects may be two white males in their mid-20s, but that in all of the incidents the men wore hoods or bandanas to cover their faces.

“They are hitting these places pretty quickly and sometimes moving to another store to hit,” Mancuso said.

According to Sheriff’s Office records, three stores in the Moss Bluff and Westlake areas were broken into a one-hour period on Jan. 26.

On Feb. 3 and 4, two stores in the Carlyss and Sulphur areas were hit in a two-hour period.

“We think they are purposely hitting stores in rural areas like Carlyss, LeBleu Settlement, and the areas between Moss Bluff and Westlake because they are low-traffic areas at that hour,” Mancuso said.

He said five trucks have been stolen — some personal trucks, others company or utility trucks.

“Along with the items they are taking, these suspects have caused about $500,000 worth of damage to these stores,” Mancuso said.

In some surveillance footage, the suspects drive the truck into the store and ram the checkout counter multiple times, probably to dislodge a safe, detective said.

“If you have heard anyone bragging about doing this or seen a person having extra items for no reason, please let us know,” Mancuso said.

Anyone with information can call the Sheriff’s Office at 491-3605 or Crime Stoppers at 439-2222.


February 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

$68,000 worth of drugs seized

*published Nov. 3, 2009

Three traffic stops on I-10 lead to busts
Three separate traffic stops on Interstate 10 last week led to the seizure of more than $68,000 in prescription pills and illegal drugs — not record confiscations but a “significant pop,” said Lt. Billy Chapman, director of the Combined Anti-Drug Task Force.

At 6 p.m. Oct. 25, officers reportedly stopped Sylvinnia S. Moore, 28, and Samantha J. Lewis, 21, both of Mobile, Ala., on Interstate 10 in Lake Charles and found 120 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of their rented vehicle. They were traveling from Houston to Mobile, officers said.

At 9 p.m. Oct. 28, officers reportedly stopped Jonathan K. Kennerson, 23, of Houston, and Camiece M. Groves, 21, of Huffman, Texas, and found three bags — with 2,016 hydrocodone pills and 504 Xanax pills — hidden in the fender of their car. Kennerson was going to Lafayette, officers said.

At about midnight Oct. 29, officers stopped John H. LeGros, 30, of Roanoke, near Vinton and found 613 Lorcet pills and 46 Somas in his vehicle.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said the seizures were significant because District Attorney John DeRosier has been working hard to help control prescription drug abuse in the area.

“These are the pills that have been killing our young people in Calcasieu Parish,” DeRosier said.

He said state doctor-shopping laws and prescription pill monitoring systems have made it difficult for people to get such large amounts of drugs in the state.

“We made strides this year with the Texas Legislature passing laws to regulate pain management clinics,” he said. “We still have to get a doctor shopping statute there.”


Mancuso said agencies here are working with the Houston police, Harris Country deputies, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and drug task forces in Lafayette and Mobile.

“It’s been so important to combine our efforts with other local and federal law enforcement,” Mancuso said. “We have major waterways and a major interstate coming through the parish.”

Sgt. Gene Pittman with the local task force said well over 90 percent of the drugs in the area come in through Houston.


November 3, 2009 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

Cold cases heat up

published Aug. 12, 2009
National link leads to arrests in ’94 rape, March slaying


The accreditation of the Southwest Louisiana Crime Lab has led to arrests in a 14-year-old rape case and a dozen other crimes, Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said at a Tuesday news conference.

The rape, which happened in September 1994, has been connected to Jonathan J. Frank, 34. He has been charged with aggravated rape in a case in which the victim was raped at knifepoint and severely beaten, resulting in a broken nose.

Mancuso recounted some of Frank’s “lengthy” criminal history, which goes back to 1993 and includes charges of possession of stolen property, armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping, burglary, felony battery and theft.

“This is a person that needs to be off the streets,” Mancuso said.

Another major case in which DNA evidence was used to bring closure is the March 2009 slaying of Darrell Shaub, whose body was found behind a DeQuincy motel, he said.

Mancuso said John Dickerson, 29, was charged with second-degree murder in the case when his DNA was found on Shaub’s clothes and in his truck.

Mancuso said the four-year process of becoming compliant with the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, was funded by a grant sponsored by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and the half-cent tax passed two years ago.

“In many cases, unless it’s a murder case, it can take two, three, four years to get DNA (results) back from the FBI or state crime lab, which is unacceptable for the victims,” Mancuso said.

The sheriff said the lab opened in 2005 and hired a second DNA analyst two years later, fulfilling the last requirements for accreditation.

CODIS allows DNA processed locally to become a part of a national database of samples.

Mancuso said analysts began entering information into the system two months ago and have since connected suspects to 13 crimes and have two pending cases.

Other cases affected by the crime lab’s work include two burglaries, four rapes and two pending cases for the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office; one rape and five burglaries for Lake Charles police; and one burglary for the Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office.

In December 2003, Vitter, as a member of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, secured $1 million to be split among the state’s five regional crime labs to buy equipment.

To see a virtual tour of the crime lab, CLICK HERE


August 12, 2009 at 9:14 pm Leave a comment

Texas OKs forced evacuations

published August 1, 2009
Calcasieu officials say that’s never a good idea

A Texas law set to take effect Sept. 1 gives law enforcement officers the right to use “reasonable force” during a mandatory evacuation.

The law, sponsored by Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, does not give a definition of “ reasonable force.” Carona told The Associated Press the law could be of use “in removing children, the elderly or infirm from unsafe situations.”

In Louisiana, there is no law in place to force residents to leave their homes, regardless of the situation. But both Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon and Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said they make sure their officers explain the consequences of remaining.

“The resident is told that at some point they could be cut off from all parish services,” Mancuso said. “That means no police, no fire or medical services and that they are staying at their own risk.”

Dixon also said his officers won’t force anyone to evacuate.

“We can make sure residents without transportation get to a shelter or a bus going north,” Dixon said. “But they are also told when we go to code red (winds are above 40 mph) we can’t send someone out to help them.”

Dixon said that in “extreme cases” — where a person may have a mental illness and pose a danger to themselves or others — an officer can take a person to the hospital for evaluation.

“I think our Legislature had explored some type of option (to compel evacuation), but they scrapped it,” Mancuso said. “And in my opinion, it really seems unenforceable.

“For instance, if we have 200,000 people in the parish and 40,000 decide to stay, I don’t see how we have the manpower to make all of them leave.”

Mancuso said the only thing he could think of would be to file charges afterward, because arresting people is also out of the question.

“We empty our jail and send our prisoners north, too,” he said.

Dixon agreed with Mancuso’s assessment, saying a department could also be put in a position to be sued after the fact.

In rationalizing the lack of a definition of “reasonable force,” Carona said the law is meant to be a tool for Texas law enforcement officers to use at their own discretion.

Sgt. Mark Kraus with the city said the law enforcement definition of “reasonable force” when a suspect is resisting “is to use a greater force than what is being exerted upon the officer.”

“And I just don’t see it as logical for an officer to be in a standoff with someone trying to get them out of their own property,” Kraus said.


August 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

Mancuso requests renewal of property tax millage

*published June 10, 2009

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso on Tuesday expressed his support in writing for the renewal of a 10-year property tax millage.

The tax, which is to expire at the end of the year, will also be rolled back by $9 million, Mancuso said.

Sharon Cutrera, Sheriff’s Office chief financial officer, said the cutback would be offset by the half-cent sales tax approved in 2006.

The property tax accounts for about 25 percent of the sheriff’s revenue, according to the state Legislative Auditor’s Office.

Lake Charles resident Charlie Atherton worried the renewal vote could have a negative effect on a separate tax to be presented by the Police Jury to fund jail and courthouse improvements.

“I don’t think many people realize these taxes are separate,” Atherton said. “If they (residents) vote it down, you suffer.”

Mancuso said he is presenting the renewal request now because his department does not want to let the millage expire and have to present it as a new tax later.

“I would rather not have to put this (the renewal) out there right now,” Mancuso said.

Rob McCorquodale, Sheriff’s Office legal counsel, said there is a certain timeline to get the request to the state bond commission by September, which is why he must turn in the paperwork before the end of the week.

Mancuso said an approval of the jail and courthouse improvement tax would add a pod of single-bed cells to the jail and increase the number of intake beds from 60 to 100.

He said that now prisoners who need to be separated have to be put in two-bed cells, taking up extra space.

The half-cent tax has been used to increase deputies’ yearly pay to about $30,000, which includes the state supplemental pay, update the department’s technology, and pay for equipment for deputies and the jail.

Mancuso said the technology included connecting all sections with one computer system and installing laptops and cameras in deputies’ vehicles.

The department-provided equipment for deputies includes rig belts, bulletproof vests, Tasers and guns.

“Before this tax, all we could give them was a shirt, a pair of pants and boots,” Mancuso said.

He said the pay increase accounts for about $8 million of the roughly $16 million the Sheriff’s Office gets from the tax.

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June 10, 2009 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

MEMORIAL TRIBUTE: Deputies honor fallen colleagues

*published May 13, 2009

Sgt. Cory Manuel, left, and Cpl. Leonard Crawford raise the American flag to half-staff in honor of all officers who died in the line of duty. BY BRAD PUCKETT

Sgt. Cory Manuel, left, and Cpl. Leonard Crawford raise the American flag to half-staff in honor of all officers who died in the line of duty. BY BRAD PUCKETT


Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Tuesday’s memorial service on the Sheriff’s Office grounds served as a tribute to fallen law officers from all over Southwest Louisiana.

“I think it’s fitting to mention slain officers from the surrounding parishes because we are all an extended family,” Mancuso said.

In Calcasieu Parish, 19 officers have been killed in the line of duty.

Mancuso also used the event to thank his current deputies.

“No person is any good if they don’t have a great staff, and I want my coworkers to know they do a great job in our community,” he said.

William Brian plays the bagpipes in honor of all fallen officers Tuesday at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office memorial service. BY BRAD PUCKETT

William Brian plays the bagpipes in honor of all fallen officers Tuesday at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office memorial service. BY BRAD PUCKETT

Chief Deputy Gary “Stitch” Guillory thanked the family members of fallen deputies for attending.

“I know sometimes it may get tough,” Guillory said. “That’s why we always want you to know that you are not going through this alone.”

Mancuso presented two plaques to be hung in the main lobby for Deputy Eric Bellard, who died, along with his father, on Sept. 3, of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The family of slain Deputy Billy Wayne McIntosh — his parents, Foy and Cleta, and son, Gregory — were in attendance. McIntosh was killed in October 1997 while responding to a domestic dispute. His son is now a deputy.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso and Sgt. Darek Ardoin hold a shadow box honoring fallen Deputy Eric Bellard during the memorial service at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso and Sgt. Darek Ardoin hold a shadow box honoring fallen Deputy Eric Bellard during the memorial service at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.

The service also featured a roll call of fallen officers and a gun salute by the Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard.

“Our drive to protect and serve the community comes from the sacrifices made by those who served before us,” Mancuso said. “This is a remarkable group of people who serve a purpose greater than themselves.”

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May 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment