C.A.T. Team makes a cocaine bust on I-10

The following is a news release from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office:

Lake Charles, LA – On September 8 at approximately 10:00 p.m., Cpl. Kevin Hoover and Cpl. Chris Johnson with the Combined Anti-Drug Task Force (C.A.T. Team) observed an SUV and a car traveling together east on I-10 near mile marker 7.  After observing both vehicles commit traffic violations, Cpl. Hoover and Cpl. Johnson conducted traffic stops on both vehicles.

An investigation revealed the driver of the SUV, Leonard A. Harris, 40, 670 Parkchester Drive, Columbus, GA, and the driver and passenger of the car, Shirley L. Epps, 35, 2135 Hunter Court, Columbus, GA, and Jeffery W. Fluellen, 39, 11374 Warm Springs Road, Midlan, GA, were traveling together from Houston to Columbus, Georgia, although both parties claimed to be traveling alone.

When Cpl. Hoover spoke with Harris, the driver of the SUV, he began to act suspiciously. After receiving permission to search the SUV from Harris, Cpl. Hoover allowed his K9 "Mako" to conduct a free air sniff of the air around the SUV.  Mako alerted to the odor of narcotics coming from the rear of the SUV near the spare tire.  Cpl. Hoover climbed under the SUV and observed tooling marks on the spare tire.  He continued to remove the spare tire from under the SUV and noticed the weight difference and heard a rattle inside of the rim when he shook the tire.  After removing the tire from the rim, Cpl. Hoover located four bundles of powder cocaine.  The cocaine weighed a total of five pounds and has an approximate street value of $150,000.

Harris, Fluellen, and Epps were arrested and booked into Calcasieu Correctional Center and all charged with possession of CDS II (cocaine) over 400 grams.

Judge David Ritchie set each of their bonds at $400,000.