Child Support Roundup Targeted Those Who Made No Attempt To Pay

Feb 2020 Roundup
Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Austin Travis escorts Blaine Breaux, one of the individuals arrested during Thursday’s roundup.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre and District Attorney Kristine Russell were on hand Thursday morning in Thibodaux as members of multiple agencies fanned out across the parish for a child support roundup of individuals who are not only behind in their child support payments but also have made no effort to make payments. Arrest warrants were prepared on 25 individuals who collectively owe child support payments of over $775,000.

“This operation had less to do with the amount owed, and more to do with the lack of effort to make payments,” said District Attorney Kristine Russell. “The majority of the men and women in Lafourche Parish pay their child support; in 2019, we collected over $10 million in child support payments. It is not our desire to put these individuals in jail for non-payment, but we must hold them responsible. We make every attempt to work with them to collect payments before making an arrest. Until we start investing in our children and our families, we will never see a change in our communities.”

District Attorney Russell noted that the roundup was only one portion of their year-round effort to hold those behind on child support accountable.

On the 25 warrants, a total of 9 individuals were arrested as part of the operation. Officials say they expect additional arrests to be made in the coming days. The combined child support payments owed by those arrested were nearly $290,000. Two of the individuals on the list, Blain Breaux and Norbert Bouzigar III, were found with suspected methamphetamine and will now face additional charges. Wendy Welch, who was not on the list and found with Bouzigar, was also found with suspected methamphetamine and taken into custody.

The following individuals were the focus of the operation:

  • Aaron Cheramie, 26, of Golden Meadow
  • Blaine Breaux, 32, of Galliano (Arrested)
  • Brandon Dumas, 38, of Thibodaux
  • Brandon Duncan, 27, of Thibodaux (Arrested)
  • Christopher Miller, 42, of Cut Off
  • Chance Hogan Jr., 40, of Raceland
  • Clayton Duncan, 36, of Galliano (Arrested)
  • Clifton Coleman Sr., 40, of Raceland
  • Corey Thornton, 50, of Lockport
  • Demont Johnson, 36, of Thibodaux
  • Donald Mathews, 42, of Thibodaux
  • Jeffrey Slack Sr., 48, of Thibodaux
  • Johnathan Hebert, 30, of Lockport
  • Larry Duncan, 53, of Thibodaux (Arrested)
  • Maurice Brown, 36, of Thibodaux
  • Michael Neely, 47, of Thibodaux (Arrested)
  • Nicklas Lyons, 40, of Lockport (Arrested)
  • Norbert Bouzigar III, 43, of Cut Off (Arrested)
  • Roy Caine, 51, of Raceland
  • Russell Lebouef, 40, of Larose
  • Ryan Arceneaux, 41, of Lockport (Arrested)
  • Steven Robinson, 51, of Raceland
  • Theron Steward, 42, of Raceland (Arrested)
  • Trimichael Cooks, 50, of Thibodaux
  • Vinnie Himel, 29, of Thibodaux

This operation combined the efforts of the Lafourche Parish District Attorney’s Office, Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, Thibodaux Police Department, Probation and Parole, Department of Social Services, and Acadian Ambulance

“The success this morning is just a small part of the larger operation efforts,” said Sheriff Craig Webre. “Proactive policing initiatives like this roundup have a much broader effect than just the people that get arrested during the operation. What we will see in the days to follow is that more and more people will be contacting the District Attorney’s Office or the Sheriff’s Office wanting to come in and pay.”

Webre continued, ”We are very serious about those who are not living up to their obligations and taking care of their children. We’re letting them know that we’re not going to forget about what they owe, and we’re going to be very vigilant and aggressive in pursuing them and holding them accountable.”

Anyone who owes child support payments is encouraged to contact the Lafourche Parish District Attorney’s Office at (985) 448-3422 as soon as possible. Anyone who knows the location of any person wanted for failure to pay child support can submit information anonymously via Crime Stoppers Bayou Region by calling 1-800-743-7433 or by submitting a tip online at www.crimestoppersbr.org.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Launches Smartphone App

Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office App

Sheriff Craig Webre announced the release of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office’s new smartphone application. This app will serve as a new way for the sheriff’s office to connect with Lafourche Parish residents and visitors, providing information quickly and efficiently to anyone with a smartphone.

“This app is the next evolution in keeping the public informed,” said Sheriff Webre. “Over the past decade, we’ve continually evolved with technology, allowing citizens to sign up for news releases by email, sign up for text emergency alerts, and to follow us on social media. This app brings all those features into one, easy-to-use app.”

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office app was developed by TheSheriffApp.com, a division of OCV, LLC. The app offers quick access to items of public interest and is easy to use. Among the app’s most notable features, users can receive push notifications when there is an urgent public safety alert such as a road or bridge closure. These push alerts will also be tied to Everbridge emergency alerts, allowing app users to receive those same alerts without having to sign up separately for Everbridge.

The app also features the latest news releases so residents can stay informed. Users can also submit tips on crimes or suspicious activity, search for inmates and active warrants, and access an interactive sex offender map. Users can also access LPSO social media profiles and posts directly through the app.

“While we certainly continue to rely on social media to help keep the public informed, we understand that not every post reaches every citizen and not every citizen is on social media,” said Sheriff Webre. “This app provides a single point for a citizen to stay informed from the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.”

TheSheriffApp.com specializes in smartphone app development for sheriffs’ offices and public safety organizations across the country. Developing more than 500 apps, OCV designs and creates custom apps for state, county and local government agencies.

“Over 80 percent of people in the United States own and use smartphones as their primary means of communication,” OCV Vice President Kevin Cummings said. “Mobile apps offer agencies a better way to alert, inform and prepare the public. Apps allow public safety agencies the ability to reach and serve their citizens where they are: their smartphones.”

Sheriff Webre added, “We believe this app brings us one step closer to our goal of reaching each and every citizen.”

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office app is available for download for free in the App Store and Google Play. Search “Lafourche Sheriff” or click here to download the app.

UPDATE: Second Victim Comes Forward in Investigation into Cut Off Man’s Sex Crimes

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced a Cut Off man arrested for child molestation in November 2019 has been charged again after a second victim has come forward. Lain McMaster, 21, is now also charged with Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile.

During the initial investigation of McMaster, detectives learned he allegedly molested a girl under the age of 13 at a Larose residence. On November 14, 2019, McMaster was questioned and admitted to his involvement in the crime. He was arrested and charged with Molestation of a Juvenile in that case.

As the investigation into McMaster continued, a second victim came forward with allegations of a similar incident. The incident occurred when the victim was 14 years old. Based on the nature of the allegations and following an investigation, detectives obtained a warrant for Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile.

McMaster was still in jail following his November 2019 arrest for Molestation of a Juvenile. On February 3, 2020, he was booked on the new warrant for Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile. His bail amount increased and is now set at $150,000.

The investigation into McMaster is continuing. Any other victims are encouraged to contact Sergeant Rodney Morrison of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at (985) 532-4359.

Lain McMaster
Lain McMaster

2020 LSA Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted

Lsa Scholarship

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre has announced applications are now being accepted for the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association annual scholarship. All eligible students in Lafourche Parish are encouraged to apply.

The $500 scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school student who attends Nicholls State University or L.E. Fletcher Technical Community College. An applicant must be a permanent resident of Lafourche Parish and must be eligible for admission to the school indicated on the application. The award will only be paid for attendance at one of the aforementioned qualifying institutions as a full-time, undergraduate student. The scholarship is awarded as a gift, not a loan, and is awarded to defray the rising costs of tuition and related expenses in higher education. There are no restrictions on the purposes for which the scholarship is spent.

Applications are available for download online at www.LPSO.net/scholarship. Completed applications can be turned in at any Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office location or mailed to Lieutenant Brennan Matherne, P.O. Box 5608, Thibodaux, LA 70302. All applications must be received by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office no later than Wednesday, April 1, 2020. An independent selection committee will review the applications and select a winner to be announced in May. There are no restrictions on applicants by reason of race, creed, color, age or national origin.

The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Scholarship Program awards scholarships in all 64 parishes, providing assistance to worthy Louisiana students in furthering their education and training with resources made available through the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Honorary Membership Program.

Five Face Drug Charges in Three Separate Investigations

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced five individuals face drug charges as part of three separate investigations in what turned out to be a busy day for narcotics agents on January 30, 2020.

Agents started in Cut Off on Thursday morning. Through investigation, they had obtained a search warrant for the residence of Vontrell Cleveland, 39, and Christie Soudelier, 32, in Cut Off. Agents arrived at the residence that morning and made contact with Cleveland. During a search of the residence, agents found over 65 grams of methamphetamine which was determined to belong to Cleveland. They also located approximately 24 grams of marijuana, 20 Xanax pills, and various drug paraphernalia. During the search, Soudelier arrived at the residence. Both were arrested and booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux. Both were charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Possession of Xanax, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Cleveland was additionally charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. Cleveland and Soudelier were both released on Thursday night after posting bail amounts of $45,500 and $12,500, respectively.

Around midday on Thursday, agents arrived in Galliano to locate Roxie Toups, 24, due to obtaining a warrant for Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine as part of an investigation. Agents obtained a search warrant for her residence and found approximately 82 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. There was also a juvenile present at the residence. Toups was arrested and booked into the Correctional Complex on charges including two counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Illegal Use of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in the Presence of Persons Under 17 Years Old, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Her bail is set at $21,500.

Then, on Thursday evening, agents proceeded to Main Street in Lockport for another search warrant. At the residence, agents made contact with Ryan Arceneaux, 41, and Brandy Ougel, 32, both of Lockport. They were both found in possession of drug paraphernalia, and Arceneaux also had cocaine in his possession. Arceneaux was arrested and booked into the Correctional Complex. He was charged with Possession of Cocaine and Drug Paraphernalia, and he was also booked on an outstanding contempt warrant due to failure to pay child support. His bail is set at $25,500. Ougel was issued a criminal summons for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Vontrell Cleveland
Vontrell Cleveland
Christie Soudelier
Christie Soudelier
Roxie Toups
Roxie Toups
Ryan Arcenaux
Ryan Arcenaux

Two Arrested for Recent Burglaries and Theft in Gheens

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced two men have been arrested in connection with recent burglaries in the Gheens area. Gary Matherne, 25, of Gheens and Chevy Plaisance, 18, of Mathews each face multiple felony charges in the investigation.

On January 20, 2020, deputies responded to multiples reports of stolen property in the Gheens area. In all, four vehicles and one home were burglarized, and a motor was also stolen directly off a boat. During the residential burglary, thieves broke a window to enter the home and stole six guns, four hunting bows, jewelry and other valuables. Approximately $1,000 in cash was stolen in the vehicle burglaries.

As detectives gathered evidence through several sources, they developed Matherne and Plaisance as suspects in the crimes. On January 30, 2020, detectives obtained a search warrant for Matherne’s residence and made contact with him at his home. During the search, investigators discovered several hunting bows and firearms that had been reported stolen, and the serial number on one gun had been obliterated.

Investigators also contacted Plaisance at his residence. He was found in possession of some of the other stolen firearms and jewelry from the investigation.

Matherne and Plaisance were both arrested and transported to the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux. They were each charged with four counts of Simple Burglary of a Motor Vehicle as well as Simple Burglary of an Inhabited Dwelling, and Felony Theft. Plaisance’s bail was set at $70,000. Matherne was additionally charged with Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Number, and his bail is set at $80,000.

Gary Matherne
Gary Matherne
Chevy Plaisance
Chevy Plaisance

Hiding in Plain Sight: Utah Fugitive Found Living in Bayou Blue

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced the arrest of a fugitive wanted in Utah for crimes dating back to 2003. Richard Schleininger, 49, was found to have been living in Bayou Blue for more than a decade under the alias, “Alex Paton” (PAY-tun).

On January 8, 2020, deputies with the Problem-Oriented Policing Squad (“POP” Squad) were in the area of LA Highway 316 and Bayou Blue By-Pass Road in Bayou Blue when they noticed a man traveling on a riding lawnmower on private property, passing several “No Trespassing” signs. Aware of recent trespassing complaints in the area, the deputies stopped the man. He identified himself as Alex Paton but could provide no proof of identification.

After questioning, the man was arrested and taken to the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux. There was no match for his fingerprints in the state’s database. Believing the individual was concealing his true identity, the deputies worked with detectives to conduct a more extensive fingerprint search nationwide in conjunction with the FBI. As a result, deputies identified the man Richard Schleininger, and he had two active warrants in Utah. He was wanted for Aggravated Assault (the equivalent of Second Degree Battery in Louisiana) as part of a domestic incident in 2003 and for Felony Theft in 2004. Authorities in Utah were notified and began researching the cases to determine if he could be extradited. Meanwhile, Schleininger was booked on the charges of Criminal Trespassing and Resisting an Officer. He was released the following day after posting $1,000 bail.

Last week, authorities in Utah notified deputies that Schleininger would be extradited. On January 23, 2020, deputies contacted Schleininger outside his residence, and he was taken back into custody. He is now being held without bail for police in Bountiful, Utah, a city located just north of Salt Lake City.

Sheriff Webre applauded the efforts of the deputies on the case. “This started as a simple trespassing complaint, but these deputies trusted their gut and realized something wasn’t adding up,” said Sheriff Webre. “They did their due diligence to identify this man only to learn he had been on the run for 17 years. This just shows there is no such thing as a ‘routine’ incident for us.”

Over the course of the investigation, deputies learned Schleininger had arrived in Lafourche Parish approximately 11 years ago and had been living in Bayou Blue since that time. Sheriff Webre said that a lack of interaction with law enforcement and a lack of steady employment contributed to this man’s ability to conceal his identity for so long.

“This man was hiding in plain sight,” said Sheriff Webre. “Other than an animal complaint he made in 2014, we had no other interaction with him until his arrest. He also only worked odd jobs for cash, and by avoiding traditional employment, he was never forced to verify his identity otherwise.”

Richard Schleininger
Richard Schleininger

Sheriff Webre Issues Warning About the Use of Replica Pistols

graphic showing a side-by-side comparison of a replica pistol and an actual firearm which look nearly identicalExample of a replica pistol compared to the actual firearm it was meant to replicate

 

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is warning citizens about the dangers of replica pistols, especially when being used by children.

On January 23, 2020, deputies responded to an incident in Thibodaux wherein several juveniles were firing airsoft pistols at other juveniles. The pistols were those created to replicate actual firearms. Additionally, in 2017 and 2019, students at Raceland and Thibodaux schools, respectively, were found in possession of replica pistols on school grounds.

These pistols are built to be nearly identical to actual firearms, and Sheriff Webre says that is the primary reason they are so dangerous.

“It is important that parents and children fully understand the risks involved with using these types of pistols,” said Sheriff Webre. “Because they are built to be replicas of actual firearms, a deputy nor a citizen would be able to tell the difference in a split-second when one is pointed at them. We are urging citizens to refrain from using these in public settings and to modify the pistol so that it does not look like an actual firearm.”

Sheriff Webre also addressed previous public comments referring to these replica pistols as “just toys.”

“The belief that an airsoft pistol is a ‘toy’ is misguided at best,” said Sheriff Webre. “Aside from the obvious concern about brandishing one in the presence of others, injuries can occur when striking someone with a BB. Direct impact to an eye or another sensitive part of the body could cause serious injury.”

Anyone caught striking another individual with a BB from an airsoft gun would be subject to criminal charges including Aggravated Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

Narcotics Agents Arrest Four in Drug Bust at Gheens Residence

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced narcotics agents arrested four people at a Gheens residence on Thursday. Laura Cheramie, 41, and her brother, Harry Cheramie Jr., 31, were arrested along with Caleb McCaa, 24, and his girlfriend, Valerie Gaubert, 28.

Through an ongoing investigation, narcotics agents obtained a search warrant for Laura Cheramie’s residence on Hyland Drive. On January 23, 2020, agents arrived at the residence to conduct the search and made contact with Laura Cheramie, her two sons, and Gaubert. During a search of the residence, agents found small amounts of suspected methamphetamine and marijuana, various drug paraphernalia, and a rifle, all of which were determined to belong to Harry Cheramie Jr., who was prohibited from possessing firearms due to an active protective order. Agents also found additional suspected marijuana that belonged to the other three individuals, along with various items commonly associated with the sale of illegal drugs.

All four were arrested. They were booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux.

Laura Cheramie, McCaa and Gaubert were charged with one count each of Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Bail is set at $10,500 each.

Harry Cheramie Jr. was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Marijuana, and Drug Paraphernalia, Illegal Carrying of a Weapon in the Presence of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, and Violation of a Protective Order. His bail is set at $31,500.

Laura Cheramie
Laura Cheramie
Harry Cheramie Jr
Harry Cheramie Jr
Caleb McCaa
Caleb McCaa
Valerie Gaubert
Valerie Gaubert

UPDATE: Wanted Felon Arrested in Gheens

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced the arrest of a wanted felon. Justin Breaux, 30, of Gheens was arrested on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office asked for the public’s help in locating Breaux who had outstanding warrant after missing a court date on charges including Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession of Methamphetamine.

On the afternoon of January 22, 2020, Crime Stoppers Bayou Region received an anonymous tip about Breaux’s location at a residence in Gheens. Deputies proceeded to the address. At the residence, they found Breaux hiding inside a closet, holding a pipe with suspected methamphetamine. He was immediately taken into custody.

Breaux was arrested and charged and booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex on the outstanding warrant for Contempt of Court. He was also charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and Drug Paraphernalia. In addition, his bond was surrendered on the aforementioned charges of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession of Methamphetamine. His bail is set at $166,300.

Breaux has been arrested more than 10 times in Lafourche Parish since 2008, mostly for crimes such as theft, burglary, possession of stolen property, and battery.

Justin Breaux
Justin Breaux