Jailers thwart “poison paper” letters

Terrebonne authorities say they have broken a ring that allegedly snuck “Mojo” – a form of synthetic marijuana – into the parish jail, baked into paper upon which letters were written so that it could be smoked.

Sheriff Jerry Larpenter said his detectives and jail personnel began a probe in July, after receiving information that synthetic marijuana was making its way into the facility through the U.S. Postal Service, and uncovered an elaborate scheme.

Investigators learned, he said, that people outside the jail bought large quantities of illegal powder used to make the substance.

“They liquefied the powder using acetone, and then sprayed or soaked the paper with it,” Larpenter said. “The paper was allowed to dry thoroughly so that the illegal substance and chemical smell could not be detected.”

The paper, Larpenter said, was written or printed upon and mailed to an inmate held at the jail. An inmate named Alton Williams III, who drew a 20-year sentence last month for drug and illegal weapons possession, was identified by Larpenter as the director of the in-jail drug-dealing scheme, directing which inmates should receive the letters.

After receiving the letter, an inmate would divide the paper into pieces, and either smoke them or sell them to other inmates, Larpenter said. Sales took place by way of deposits into commissary accounts.

“It’s amazing,” Larpenter said. “It’s a battle trying to keep people from using drugs on the streets is one thing. But in the jail they have this addiction so bad that they have to use it. We got it pretty much when it initiated, I don’t think we had anyone going to the hospital. But it could have spread all over the jail. Mojo will destroy your brain and makes you very violent.”

Danielle Marie LeBlanc, 29, of 349 Monarch Drive in Houma, identified by Larpenter as Williams’ girlfriend, allegedly “was involved in the conspiracy,” receiving direction from Williams by telephone and mail. The scheme, Larpenter said, began after Williams was jailed on June 26, 2016 after a traffic stop by Louisiana State Police.

The State Police Crime Lab in Baton Rouge performed tests on letters which are now recorded as evidence, Larpenter said.

Raven Trishelle Davis, 25, of 12209 Houma Highlands Drive in Houma identified by Larpenter as Williams’ cousin, is accused of obtaining the drugs from online sources, liquefying the chemical and spraying it on paper written on and then mailed to the jail.

Williams’ aunt, Bertha Taylor Davis, 55, of the same address, is accused on instructing inmates desiring to buy “Mojo” to have to have family members meet her to pay for the transactions.

On several occasions, Larpenter said, she met with family members and collected $200.00 each time.

That money, Larpenter said, was used to pay Williams’ lawyer in some cases, or placed on his commissary account. She also kept some of the money as payment for herself, Larpenter said.

Additional arrests are pending.

Williams, LeBlanc, and the two Davis women are charged with criminal conspiracy, distribution, manufacturing or possession of a controlled dangerous substance and entering contraband into a penal institution.

Larpenter said he appreciated the job his staff did, including the full-time detective he keeps assigned to the jail.

“That’s what they do,” Larpenter said.

Synthetic Marijuana

Courtesy: Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office

Courtesy: Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office

Courtesy: Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office

Courtesy: Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office