Craigslist sex bust Baton Rouge

Jefferson Parish authorities say the above-pictued ad was posted on the website Craigslist in an effort to sell heroin. Detectives from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and the West Bank Major Crimes Task Force arrested three men who arranged to sell the drug to undercover detectives that made contact through the ad.

Such online drug dealing is unusual, authorities said. Internet innovations have not been lost on the criminal element.

For years, law enforcement agencies have busted illicit online entrepreneurs for selling sex and prescription medications. But in a first for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Officenarcotics detectives last week arrested alleged street-level dealers accused of turning to the online classified advertising website Craigslist to sell heroin and marijuana.

Authorities can't say whether it's stupidity or bravado that has prompted prospective dealers to peddle their illicit wares online, seemingly unconcerned by the electronic trail of evidence such efforts surely leave for law enforcement. That's a that says 'I'm going to do this, and I believe I can get away with it. The suspects who eventually made arrangements to sell heroin to an undercover detective didn't exactly post a subtle ad on Craigslist.

Investigators and a suspicious member of the public spotted the ad, Thevenot said. Once contacted, the posters eventually agreed to meet in the parking lot of a Metairie grocery store in the block of Power Boulevard on Thursday July The only step taken by the poster to protect himself from possible arrest was to ask the detective by text message, "You not the police, huh?

Detectives perusing Craigslist around the same time found a second drug-related advertisement offering to sell marijuana, according to Sheriff's Office Spokesman Col. John Fortunato. The text of the ad hasn't been made available, but authorities said undercover detectives contacted the poster on Tuesday July 29 and began negotiations.

The poster, later identified as Christopher Lanza, 34, of Kenner, offered to sell the detectives a quarter ounce of marijuana and sent them photographs of the drug, Fortunato said. Talk even turned to a sexual encounter followed by a smoke session.

But Lanza got spooked by something during the back and forth with detectives and cut off contact.

Investigators went to his apartment, located at Kansas Ave. Detectives also arrested Lanza's roommate, Aaron Gilmore, 30, and his girlfriend, Lindsay Higgins, Searches of the apartment and a vehicle turned up more than 27 ounces of marijuana, Fortunato said. While the Sheriff's Office has made numerous arrests over the years for prostitution advertised online, Thevenot said it was very unusual to run across someone openly selling drugs. Warren Rivera, assistant special agent in charge for the U.

Drug Enforcement Administration's New Orleans office, agreed. The DEA has open investigations targeting large-scale, usually overseas organizations that use the Internet to sell synthetic drugs, including substances such as lab-created marijuana and LSD. They've also investigated groups that use the Internet to sell steroids, a controlled substance that requires a physician's prescription.

The Craigslist busts seem to smack of inexperienced dope dealers who believe using coded language will keep them safe from arrest. They're amateurs," Rivera said. They're setting themselves up to either be arrested or ripped off.

Riveras suspects this isn't the last the public will see of online drug dealers. The lure of the Internet's vast reach will likely overpower common sense.

While the DEA's mission is to target those larger organizations, the Sheriff's Office intends to keep an eye on the Internet for the small fry, local dealers. Sheriff's Office officials are concerned about more than just the dealers foolish enough to abandon the local street corner for the Internet. Their would-be customers could be getting more than they bargained for, Thevenot warned.

That makes buyers, and the cash they'd be carrying, potential targets for victimization. Authorities across the country have investigated cases of victims who make arrangements to buy cars, clothing or shoes only to find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun while the "seller" robs them of the cash they'd brought for the transaction.

Similarly, New Orleans police last week warned the public of three carjackings that began as innocent encounters with women on social media websites. You never know who you're going to meet, Thevenot said.

But in the case of those looking to purchase illegal drugs, it's buyer beware. Edit Close.

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