Businelle booked into parish jail
A former St. Mary Parish drainage district employee was booked into the parish jail Friday for allegedly using his position to improperly direct $2.6 million of public funds to himself through his welding business, St. Mary Parish Sheriff Mark Hebert said in a news release.
—Peter Businelle, 68, of the 600 block of Seventy Nine Pines Lane in Bayou Vista, was arrested at 10:07 a.m. Friday on a warrant for prohibited splitting of profits, fees, or commissions, public payroll fraud, and public contract fraud. Businelle turned himself in at the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office in Franklin. Businelle was released after posting $300,000 property bail.
On Thursday, Carl Kraemer, 51, of Patterson, was arrested on a warrant charging him with prohibited splitting of profits, fees, or commission. Kraemer turned himself in at the St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center. Kraemer was released on $50,000 bail.
The arrests stem from an investigation the 16th Judi-cial District Attorney’s Office set in motion when it wrote to Legislative Auditor Daryl Pupera, saying the office had received information that an independent contractor may have misappropriated St. Mary Parish Consolidated Gravity Drainage District 2 funds.
The result was a May 2015 audit report that accused Businelle, former Drainage District Maintenance Supervisor, of acquiring district business worth about $2.6 million for PAB Welding between 2009 and 2013, when he was a supervisor for the drainage district. Businelle was also accused of paying nearly $43,000 to Kraemer.
The audit report also found evidence that more than $10,000 worth of equipment had been purchased with district funds and could not be found.
The drainage district board has since been reconstituted with new membership.
Also in May, the district attorney turned the case over to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.
A St. Mary Parish grand jury indicted both Kraemer and Businelle Jan. 4 in connection with the investigation. Businelle was indicted on the charges of prohibited splitting of profits, fees and commissions, public payroll fraud and public contract fraud.
Hebert reported respond-ing to 115 complaints in the parish.
Berwick Police Chief James Richard reported the following arrests:
—David Sons, 42, of Mar-shall Street in Morgan City, was arrested at 2:07 a.m. today on the charges of license plate required, sus-pended driver’s license, possession of drug paraphernalia, prohibited acts Schedule II methamphetamine with intent to distribute, prohibited acts Schedule II LSD with intent to distribute, prohibited acts Schedule I heroin, possession of marijuana, prohibited acts Schedule V Clonazepam with intent to distribute, possession of Legend Drug Baclofen with-out a prescription, violation of controlled dangerous substance drug-free zone and possession of Schedule III hydrocodone. No bail is set.
Patterson Police Chief Patrick LaSalle reported the following arrests:
—Yolanda Darby, 46, of the 500 block of Taft Street in Patterson, was arrested at 5 p.m. Friday on a warrant charging her with unauthorized use of an access card. Darby was released on $750 bail.
—Nakita Breaux, 27, of the 100 block of Pecan Street in Napoleonville, was arrested at 8:24 p.m. Friday on the charges of failure to yield with an accident, driving under suspension, open container and DWI first offense. Breaux was jailed with no bail set.
—Agatha McCleary, 23, of the 400 block of Tiffany Drive in Patterson, was arrested at 4:10 p.m. Sunday on the charges of possession of marijuana first offense and illegal use of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of people under 17 years old. No bail is set.
Morgan City Police Chief James Blair reported the following arrests:
—Joshua M. Martin, 27, of Reno, Nevada, was arrested at 8:49 p.m. Friday on the charges of remaining after being forbidden, appearing in public intoxicated, and cruelty to animals.
Officers responded to a local business on La. 182 in regard to a subject being inside and refusing to leave. Officers arrived and located Martin who had a dog inside the business. While speaking with Martin, the dog appeared to be in poor physical condition.
Martin was believed to have been drinking and appeared to be intoxicated. The management told officers that Martin was asked to leave the business but had refused to do so.
Martin was placed under arrest and transported to the Morgan City Police Department where he was booked and incarcerated.
—Zackery Richard, 25, of Broussard, was arrested at 10:35 a.m. Sunday on the charge of theft of goods. An officer responded to a local business in regard to a shop-lifter.
The officer arrived and spoke with management who stated that a subject came into the store, took a shirt off one of the racks and left without paying. A description of the subject was provided and officers located Richard in the area a short time later.
Richard admitted that he took the shirt and left with-out paying. Richard was placed under arrest and transported to the Morgan City Police Department where he was booked and incarcerated.
—Leeann N. Jones, 29, of Russo Lane in Morgan City, was arrested at 10:54 a.m. Sunday on the charges of warrants for simple battery with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Lafa-yette Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Officers came into contact with Jones while conducting an investigation at a local hotel on La. 182. A warrants check revealed that the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office and Lafayette Parish Sher-iff's Office held active arrest warrants on Jones.
Jones was placed under arrest and transported to the Morgan City Police Department where she was booked and incarcerated.
—Shakettia N. Skinner, 25, of Oak Street in Morgan City, was arrested at 7:45 p.m. Sunday on a charge of child desertion. Officers responded to an address on Oak Street in regard to a barking dog.
Officers arrived and at-tempted to make contact with the residence but got no answer. Reports indicated that officers could hear what sounded like a small child or a baby crying inside.
It was found that the front door was not secure and the outside temperature was approximately 42 degrees. Officers could observe a small child inside the residence but the child would not come to the door.
Because of circumstances, officers made entry into the residence when they located three children, ages 10, 6 and 1. Officers were told that the mother, Skinner, was not at the residence but was out playing bingo.
While speaking with the children, Skinner arrived home. Reports indicate that Skinner had left the children alone at the residence for more than an hour. Skinner was placed under arrest and transported to the Morgan City Police Department where she was booked and incarcerated.
—James E. Hayes, 34, of Sixth Street in Morgan City, was arrested at 8:10 p.m. Sunday on the charge of driving while intoxicated. Officers responded to a local business on La. 182 in regard to a vehicle nearly striking another.
The officers observed the vehicle in question when the driver, later identified as Hayes, was observed in the driver’s seat and appeared to be sleeping. Contact was made with Hayes when it was believed that Hayes had been drinking and appeared to be intoxicated.
Hayes was placed under arrest and transported to the Morgan City Police Department where he submitted to the Intoxilyzer 5000 test, yielding a blood alcohol concentration of .219 grams percent. Hayes was booked into the Morgan City Police Department Jail and incarcerated.
—Michael L. Marshall, 38, of Bayou Vista, was arrested at 11:30 p.m. Friday on warrants charging him with driving under suspension, speeding and no vehicle insurance.
An officer came into contact with Marshall while conducting a traffic investigation. A warrants check revealed that Marshall had active arrest warrants with the Beaure-gard Parish Sheriff’s Office. Marshall was jailed.
—Tyrone F. Thomas, 51, of Sixth Street in Morgan City, was arrested at 1:35 a.m. Saturday on the charges of entering or remaining after being forbidden, possession of marijuana and violation of uniform controlled dangerous substance law (drug-free zone).
Officers responded to a business on La. 182 in regard to a person refusing to leave. The person in question, Thomas, was located and detained. Management told officers that Thomas was asked to leave because he was suspected of conducting drug transactions inside the restroom of the business, but he refused to leave, Blair said.
Officers then spoke with Thomas about the incident, Thomas was searched, and officers located suspected marijuana on him. Location of the incident was within the area of a local church in violation of the uniform controlled dangerous substance law. Thomas was jailed.
—Donald J. Rock, 36, of Louisa Street in Morgan City, was arrested at 2:59 p.m. Saturday on the charges of no seat belt, window tint violation, resisting an officer, possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine.
An officer patrolling the area of Seventh Street near Freret Street observed the driver of a vehicle not wear-ing a seat belt. The officer observed that the passenger side windows of the vehicle had illegal window tint. A traffic stop was conducted when the driver, later identified as Rock, was observed by officers to be reaching under the seat.
Rock was ordered several times to get out of the vehicle but refused to obey the officers’ commands, Blair said. A search of the vehicle was conducted where officers located suspected marijuana and suspected cocaine, Blair said. Rock was jailed.
—Garret O. Topham, 40, of Elm Street in Morgan City, was arrested at 7:46 p.m. Saturday on the charges of speeding, driving while intoxicated, possession of Buprenorphine Sublingual (Schedule III Narcotic).
An officer patrolling the area of Federal Avenue near Marshall Street observed a vehicle speeding approxi-mately 60 mph in a 25 mph speed zone. A traffic stop was conducted and the driver, identified as Topham, was believed to have been drinking and appeared to be intoxicated.
Topham was placed under arrest and, upon searching him, suspected Buprenor-phine Sublingual was located. Topham was transported to the Morgan City Police Department where further testing was conducted. Topham submitted to the Intoxilyzer 5000 test, yielding a blood alcohol concentration of 0.129 grams-percent. Topham was jailed.
—Chance D. Mitchell, 47, of Mike Drive in Patterson, was arrested at 11:35 p.m. Saturday on the charges of appearing in an intoxicated condition and open contain-er/consuming alcohol in public view.
An officer patrolling the area of La. 182 near Cotton-wood Street observed a person, later identified as Mitchell, walking on the side of the roadway with an open container of alcohol. The officer came into contact with Mitchell who appeared to be intoxicated. Mitchell was jailed.
—Michael S. Dodd, 42, of La. 182 in Morgan City, was arrested at 5 a.m. Sunday on the charge of simple burglary. Officers came into contact with Dodd on La. 182.
A warrants check revealed that the Morgan City Police Department held an active arrest warrant for Dodd. Dodd was placed under arrest and transported to the Morgan City Police Department where he was booked and incarcerated.