Tue, Mar 19, 2013
An eighteen-year veteran State Police sergeant was arrested Monday by troopers from the agency’s Bureau of Investigation and charged him with a variety of criminal violations including narcotics distribution, according to Superintendent of State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson.
Edmonson disclosed the details of the arrest after flying to Monroe Tuesday afternoon to personally take possession of the sergeant’s badge, credentials and state-issued weapon. At the time of his arrest, Thomas was immediately suspended from duty pending the outcome of an administrative investigation.
Troopers arrested 42-year-old Ronald Thomas of Monroe without incident Monday afternoon and booked him into the Ouachita Parish Jail Monday evening where he is still being held. Prior to his arrest Thomas had been assigned as the evidence custodian for northern Louisiana investigative operations.
After consulting with District Attorney Jerry Jones and his staff, Thomas was charged with payroll fraud, malfeasance in office, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine, and obstruction of justice.
Edmonson said that several months ago, information was developed during the course of another investigation suggesting Thomas’ possible involvement in illegal activity. After months of accumulating evidence in furtherance of the allegations troopers moved quickly Monday to make arrests. Troopers executed a search warrant on Thomas’ property and seized nearly $50,000 in cash and a stolen weapon. Other items have also been seized and are currently being processed.
“I want to emphasize that it was State Police troopers who learned of Thomas’ misconduct, it was troopers who aggressively pursued this high priority investigation, and it was troopers who arrested the sergeant and booked him. We have no reluctance whatsoever identifying police misconduct and taking appropriate action, even if it happens to be one of our own officers,” Edmonson said.
“Thomas has dishonored his oath, his organization and more importantly the community he swore to protect. We will push for the strongest possible punishment,” Edmonson said.
Investigators also arrested 38-year-old Leonard Dunn of Monroe. Dunn was charged with 3 counts of distribution of marijuana and 1 count of distribution of hydrocodone. Thomas apparently had conspired with Dunn to sell large quantities of cocaine in northeast Louisiana. Thomas also apparently made attempts to warn Dunn that he was being investigated and instructed Dunn to destroy evidence and dispose of money.
“Our work is not yet done. This investigation continues to evolve and other arrests are possible. While we have no reason to believe that any other troopers are involved, we will nevertheless go wherever the facts take us. We will be unrelenting in pursuing anyone else who might have been involved in the illegal activities,” Edmonson said.
While drug evidence was utilized in furtherance of this criminal investigation, no State Police cases have been compromised as those evidentiary items were from fully adjudicated cases and the evidence had been set aside for destruction, according to investigators.
“We are confident that no on-going criminal cases awaiting trial have been affected by Thomas’ misconduct. We have also ordered an immediate inventory of the evidence most recently under Thomas’ supervision and control. That inventory will be conducted by personnel from the State Police Crime Lab. I have also directed a thorough a review of internal procedures to address any potential vulnerabilities in our evidence system,” Edmonson said.
If convicted on all charges Thomas faces up to a $76,000 fine and 92 years in prison. If convicted on all charges Dunn faces up to a $65,000 and 40 years in prison.