Dec 3, 2009 7:52 PM by Kate Mundy
Lafayette Police are out in force in Lafayette's "New Jack" neighborhood. You can't get in or out without talking to an officer. Patrol cars are blocking every access road into Hellen street.
The crackdown follows a drug raid on Wednesday and a tip about an alleged plan to ambush an officer.
"I'm glad you're all cleaning up this street, because it was worse than Congress and Johnston," said one resident as she passed through a check point.
Many neighbors are tired of the constant drug traffic in the 200 block of Hellen street. "Sometimes there's a lot of things that goes on. Sometimes the street is blocked and you can't pass," said neighbor Yola Arceneaux.
But the selling and using of crack in the neighborhood came to a screeching halt Wednesday, when Lafayette Police, FBI, DEA, State Police, ATF, Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office and City Marshal's office shut the operation down.
"In this vehicle there were actually two gentlemen, smoking crack cocaine," said Maj. Glen Dartez, pointing to a vehicle parked in a lot across from 204 Helen Street.
Officers and the SWAT team were out for a second day Thursday, while inmate work crews removed trash, knocked down overgrown brush and cut downed trees to remove hiding spots for an ambush. They hope it will give police a better "visual" when they patrol the neighborhood. "They use these as hiding spots for themselves and to hide their product the crack cocaine and stuff," said Major Dartez.
Five men are now in custody following the raid at 204 Hellen Street. Nathan Leday was arrested Thursday for possession of cocaine. Lederian Leday, Raytell Williams, Isacc Andrus and Clifton Carmouche are in custody for distribution.
Neighbors are hopeful their children can play in the streets again and they can rest easier. "You could go to bed and don't worry about nothing because you know they're on the street and I know they're gonna take care of it," said Arceneaux.
The roads will be blocked until 6:00 p.m. Friday. After that, police will begin a directed patrol around the clock.