D.A. Montgomery announces ‘historic’ drug ring bust

Published 5:51 am Saturday, October 15, 2016

District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced Thursday one of the biggest racketeering cases in St. Tammany Parish’s history — the indictment of 20 people who were members or affiliates of a drug trafficking organization, called “Team We.” The organization distributed primarily heroin and methamphetamine throughout the eastern side of the parish.

The 45-count indictment (38 felony counts and seven misdemeanors) charges 17 of the defendants with racketeering and includes an array of drug and other charges. Sixteen of the defendants are in police custody, including three of whom are in jails outside St. Tammany and one in federal custody. Four of the defendants are still at large.

The arrests and indictments were the result of a multi-agency investigation by the FBI, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Slidell Police Department, Pearl River Police Department, and District Attorney’s Office.

“This investigation is a great example of federal and local law enforcement agencies working together to address the serious heroin and methamphetamine problem in our community,” Montgomery said. “My administration is taking a proactive approach, assisting in the investigation and moving quickly to indict individuals who have made a career out of crime.”

Montgomery thanked his Criminal Division Chief Collin Sims, Assistant District Attorney Jerry Smith, and Investigators Patrick Matthews and Jerry McDowell for their work on the case, as well as the FBI, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith, Smith’s Chief Deputy Fred Oswald, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Bill Johnson, Slidell Police Chief E.J. Howard, and Pearl River Police Chief Johnny “J.J.” Jennings for the time and resources they committed to the investigation.

According to the indictment, Team We was a major transporter of primarily heroin and methamphetamine from New Orleans and elsewhere to St. Tammany from at least June 1, 2015, through Sept. 1, 2016. Several members of the organization were known to carry firearms, and at times they engaged in threatening and executing acts of violence.

Among the charges in the indictment are attempted second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon against Randy Lee Lail, 35, of Pearl River, who is accused of shooting a fellow member of the organization. Lail allegedly shot fellow defendant Destiny Michelle Dill, 23, of Slidell, in the face May 17, as she sat in the passenger seat of a parked car in Pearl River.

Lail is described in the indictment as a mid- to lower level distributor of heroin and methamphetamine. In addition to the charges related to the shooting, he is charged with racketeering, conspiracy to distribute heroin, and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Dill, a low level distributor of methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana, dated several members of the organization and brokered drug deals, according to the indictment. She is charged with racketeering, conspiracy to distribute heroin, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

Two additional defendants, Timothy James Polk, 33, of Pearl River, and Marilyn Elizabeth McDonald, 40, of Slidell, were indicted on charges of accessory after the fact to attempted second degree murder in connection with the shooting. Lail was arrested the day after the shooting at a Pearl River home where Polk and McDonald were staying. Neither Polk nor McDonald was charged with racketeering.