Sheriff: Commercial-grade pill press, $1 million in illegal drugs seized
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A commercial-grade pill press machine and approximately $1 million in illegal drugs were seized during a bust on Mignonette Street last week, Calcasieu authorities said.
Included among the illegal drugs was 170 grams of fentanyl, a potent narcotic that officials locally and nationwide have listed as a reason for a surge in overdose deaths.
“I want to explain what a lethal dose of fentanyl is for the people here in Southwest Louisana: A grain of rice is about 21 milligrams, so if you cut that grain of rice seven times, you can kill seven people with a grain of rice worth of fentanyl,” Lake Charles Police Chief Shawn Caldwell said speaking Wednesday alongside Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso and District Attorney Steven Dwight.
“In Calcasieu Parish, for the year 2021, we had a hundred, 100 ODs - people who died from an overdose. That’s compared to 52 the year before,” Caldwell said.
“This was a significant bust for our area and could have saved many lives,” Mancuso said.
Two suspects were arrested:
- Caleb Damon Barfield, 43, of Lake Charles, is accused of production, manufacture, distribution, or possession of a Schedule II drug (4 charges), possession of a firearm by a felon, illegal carrying of weapons during a crime (2 charges), money laundering, use of an illegal drug in the presence of a minor, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
- Kimberly Rene Breaux, 30, of Lake Charles, is accused of possession of a Schedule II drug (2 charges), use of an illegal drug in the presence of a minor, illegal carrying of weapons during a crime; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Mancuso says SWLA is safer with the drugs off the street and the arrest of the suspects.
“About a million dollars worth of drugs were taken off the street. In our opinion, this was a significant bust for our area and could’ve saved many lives,” Mancuso said.
The sheriff’s office says a minor was also found in the home during the arrests.
During the press conference, Chief Caldwell stressed the danger of street drugs, “To put this in perspective, Calcasieu Parish had 100 overdose deaths in 2021. And that’s compared to 52 the year before.”
“Our young people are dying at an alarming rate,” Sheriff Mancuso said. “And let me tell you something, that 100 that died, that doesn’t count the calls that my office goes on, that the city goes on, that all the other police departments go on. It’s weekly, almost daily, that we respond to. I mean, who would have thought we’d have Narcan in all of our vehicles now? And we’re administering Narcan to citizens all over the parish to try and revive them and bring them back from these overdoses. Otherwise, it would be even worse.”
The D.E.A. says overdose deaths involving opioids rose 38.1% from 2020 to 2021. The CDC says synthetic opioids like fentanyl are the main driver of those deaths.
Sheriff Mancuso urged residents to talk to those that might be suffering from drug addiction.
“You know your family, you know your friends who are addicted to these drugs,” Mancuso said. “It’s a sad cycle and they don’t know who they’re getting these drugs from. And they’re just rolling the dice. It’s really no different than putting a gun to your head, pulling the trigger to see if it’s loaded. It’s that dangerous.”
Items found during the search warrant included:
- 15 pounds of suspected methamphetamine and fentanyl powder mixture.
- More than 27 pounds of home-pressed suspected methamphetamine tablets.
- More than 600 grams of pressed purported oxycodone tablets.
- More than 170 grams of fentanyl gel.
- 50 ounces of promethazine syrup.
- 2 semi-automatic handguns.
- Commercial grade tablet pressing machine.
- More than $20,000 in U.S. currency,
- Small amount of marijuana.
- Drug paraphernalia.
Copyright 2022 KPLC. All rights reserved.