'A never-ending battle': Arrests on illegal firearms frequent, Sheriff Stassi says

Scott J. Anderson
Plaquemine Post South

Efforts by local and parish law enforcement have led to more confiscations of illegal firearms, but Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said the work is far from over.

Some of the illegal firearms seized recently by the Iberville Sheriff's Office.

Four separate incidents in the past several weeks have involved confiscation of stolen firearms or unlawful carrying of the weapons, Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said.

“It’s a never-ending battle,” he said. “Every week we’re taking one or two guns off the streets, some weeks more, and about half being stolen.”

In some cases, those who are arrested have broken into vehicles to steal the firearms, Stassi said.

Firearms were confiscated in two recent arrests, according to the sheriff.

Two Assumption Parish men were arrested Friday on La. 69 for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Deputies arrested Terrance Holmes, 31, of Napoleonville and Michael Lewis, 27, of Belle Rose.

In another incident, arrested Aaron Brantley, 32 and Ray Gutierrez, both of Texas, were arrested on Interstate 10 near Grosse Tete for possession with intent to distribute Schedule I narcotics and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.

Law enforcement has made several arrests lately involving illegal firearms.

Meanwhile, the arrest in St. Gabriel of Derrell Early, 24, of Baton Rouge, for reckless operation led to charges of possession of a stolen firearm, illegally supplying a felon with a firearm and prohibited acts, and possession of Schedule 1 narcotics.

Also, Jamal Jordan, 20, of Plaquemine was arrested in Plaquemine for illegal possession of stolen firearms and disregarding a stop sign,

A handgun confiscated during a recent arrest.

In many cases, firearms are stolen through car break-ins and put out on the street, where they wind up in the hands of thieves, Stassi said.

Despite the arrests that involve illegal firearms, the 2021 homicide rate thus far has been about the same as last year in Iberville Parish, according to the sheriff.

“However, it’s not reflective of the statewide totals,” he said. “As for the number of killings by youth, those numbers are way, way up.”

Stassi credits the partnership with municipal police departments parishwide for the increased number of confiscations. “Some of these small agencies don’t have the resources they have, so it’s my job here to assist any way I can,” he said.