[StBernard] Security guards for controversial housing complex arrested
Westley at da-parish.com
Wed Jun 22 00:06:46 EDT 2011
Security guards for controversial housing complex arrested
Reported by: Meg Gatto, Reporter
Email: mgatto at fox8live.com
Last Update: 6:30 pm
Security Guard Arrested
Two security guards hired to protect controversial mixed income apartment
complexes, under construction in Chalmette, have found themselves behind
bars for possession of marijuana. The news comes after residents in
Chalmette have been fighting to keep the apartment complexes out, saying
they were worried about the crime they would bring to the area.
An off duty sheriff's deputy was attending a funeral next to one of
Provident Realty's construction sites two weeks ago, when he saw the
security guard who was on duty at the time, Zanthony Rees and his friend,
smoking marijuana inside of a car. But according to police, they weren't
just smoking the marijuana. "He had seven individual packets of what we call
dime bags of marijuana and generally when its individually packed like that,
it's for distribution," St. Bernard Chief Deputy Jame Pohlmann said.
Less than a week later, a second security guard, Dorian Collins, was also
arrested while on duty, for possession of marijuana. "That's what we don't
need in this parish, more drugs and more drug trafficking. whether they're
white or black, we don't need any of that," resident Doug Reed said.
Reed is one of many people who've been fighting to keep the mixed income
units out of the parish. The fight has been taken to federal court, where
just yesterday, Judge Helen Berrigan ordered the parish to allow Entergy
access to the construction sites, in order for them to put up lighting. A
few weeks ago, someone spray painted racial slurs on some of the buildings.
Berrigan said the lighting would help to deter crime. But Doug Reed wonders
why Judge Berrigan never once acknowledged the arrest of two security guards
hired by Provident Realty. "I'm just amazed that she can continue to rule in
the favor of Provident every time, every time no matter what, and dictate
what our parish does," Reed said.
The Vice President of construction for Provident Realty, Chuck Wright, says
the company hired a local security firm who was responsible for hiring the
guards. The guards all had to go through a background check and be drug
tested before they got hired. In a statement, Wright said, "We were as
surprised as anybody and disappointed."
The residents of St. Bernard that we spoke to say they're disappointed too,
that there's more drug activity going on in their parish. They hope this
isn't a sign of things to come, once the apartment complexes open to the
Both Zanthony Reese and Dorian Collins are out on bond. Provident Realty
says they've fired the security firm that hired the two and they're now
working with a company in Chalmette to provide security.
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