ATF, BPD arrest suspected gang members; 1 sought

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Bogalusa Police Department, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) New Orleans Field Division, announced Wednesday that four suspected gang members have been arrested in a series of raids around Bogalusa, as part of a coordinated execution of multiple search-and-arrest warrants by an ATF Special Response Team and BPD officers, according to BPD Maj. Wendell O’Berry.

O’Berry said that a fifth suspect was already in custody in Washington Parish Jail on unrelated state charges, and is also being charged in connection with this operation.

A sixth suspended gang member is wanted on federal and state charges, and a search for him is underway, O’Berry said. The wanted suspect is Demariquiez Harris, of 1122 S. Columbia St.

O’Berry said that anyone who has any knowledge of Harris or his whereabouts should contact the BPD at 985-732-6209.

During the early morning raids, ATF New Orleans agents seized a handgun, ammunition, marijuana and ecstasy, O’Berry said.

According to a BPD press release, the men arrested are part of the “Snatcha Gang.” This gang has been an ongoing problem to the city of Bogalusa over the past several years. Two of the suspects are convicted felons and career criminals, including one who has already served 20 years in prison for murder.

Those arrested recently in connection with this operation were: Billy Porter, of 1847 Bund St.; Derrick Mark, of 1122 S. Columbia St.; Christopher Harris, of 1610 Mack St.; Jonzarrion Harris, of 1122 S. Columbia St.; and Trevion Harris, of 1122 S. Columbia St.

“Over the past year, the Bogalusa Police Department has developed an outstanding relationship with the ATF,” Bogalusa Police Chief Kendall Bullen said. “The assistance of the ATF has been a difference maker in fighting crime in the city, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to make Bogalusa safer. Investigations of this nature will continue.”

According to the BPD release, the arrests came as part of a joint federal-local law enforcement action targeting the “Snatcha gang,” after authorities on Monday released federal indictments that charged six suspects with narcotics and firearms offenses.

The Snatcha gang has about a dozen members or associates controlling a large section of the southern portion of the city of Bogalusa to distribute illegal narcotics, conduct armed robberies and burglaries, and sell stolen firearms to commit violent crimes, BPD officials stated in the release.

“The 2019 year has been especially dangerous for the citizens of Bogalusa as members of the Snatcha gang carried out multiple crimes, and some gang members are suspects in several shootings over the past several months,” the release stated. “Special agents from ATF New Orleans Field Division provided special support in the investigation since November 2018. Since that time, ATF agents recovered 15 illegal firearms, cocaine, and more than one kilo(gram, approximately 2.2 pounds) of methamphetamine.”

The BPD and ATF are continuing the investigation.