Narcotics Task Force Leader Arrested on Arson Charges in Louisiana

PLAQUEMINE, La. (AP) -- The commander of the Law Enforcement Against Drugs Narcotics Task Force has been booked on charges he was involved in a burglary at the group's headquarters and then tried to set the building on fire.

Lt. Gerald Jenkins, task force commander and a 20-year law-enforcement veteran, was booked with malfeasance in office, obstruction of justice, burglary, theft, attempted arson, attempted arson with intent to defraud, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and placing combustible material in a structure.

Authorities also arrested his cousin _ Joseph Jenkins. Joseph Jenkins was booked with burglary, attempted arson, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm with narcotics and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brent Allain and Plaquemine Police Chief Orian Gulotta said LEAD Task Force headquarters was broken into early Monday morning. Cash, narcotics and a gun had been stolen, and an attempt had been made to set the building on fire.

Officers found that interior doors were broken into, a large amount of gasoline had been poured throughout the offices and several items had been stolen or vandalized.

Allain and Gullotta said that a Sheriff's Office administrator responding to the investigation saw two vehicles leave a secluded area near the task force headquarters. Deputies who stopped the vehicles found Joseph Jenkins in one of them. They said that Joseph Jenkins, a convicted felon, was wet and muddy, was sweating profusely and had a 9 mm handgun. They also said he had items that linked him to the break-in.

The other car was driven by a relative of Joseph Jenkins who was not involved in the burglary, officers said.

Investigators said Lt. Gerald Jenkins allegedly helped his cousin with the break-in and the Louisiana Department of Justice was notified.

Information from: The Advocate