On the night of December 19, 2022 three parish residents were incarcerated in the Washington Parish Jail after driving themselves to the Sheriff’s Office parking lot.
Acting on surveillance by the jail investigator, the jail warden and a member of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force set up surveillance in the parking lot based on information that specific persons would be visiting the jail in an attempt to introduce illegal drugs to inmate Kevin Michael Knight, age 34 and who is in jail after his November 2022 arrest for possession of stolen property and introduction of drugs into the jail. Knight is a career offender, having been arrested ten times prior to his current charges. Since 2009, Knight has been incarcerated on a variety of charges including possession of illegal drugs, resisting arrest with force or violence, criminal damage to property, criminal trespass, theft, burglary, failure to appear in court, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, aggravated battery, contempt of court and other charges. All total, Knight has been arrested and charged with thirty-one criminal offenses.
While surveilling the parking lot, officers observed a vehicle driven by David Thomassen, age 37 and a resident of Tullos Road. Passengers inside the vehicle were Laken Chantelle Harris, age 34 and a resident of Skeet Statham Road and Cecelia Dykes, age 44 and a resident of Dogwood Valley. As officers observed, Dykes exited the vehicle in possession of a bag of clothing intended for an inmate.
Dykes entered the lobby of the jail and turned the bag over to the jail investigator who immediately searched the contents of the bag and discovered illegal drugs which were concealed inside shower shoes. The deputy seized the contraband drugs and placed Dykes under arrest. Dykes physically resisted the arrest and was restrained and handcuffed. A search of Dykes’ personal property revealed additional illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. Dykes was booked into the Washington Parish Jail on charges of distribution of illegal drugs, introduction of contraband into the jail, possession of illegal drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting an officer. According to jail records, this is her first time to be locked up in the Washington Parish Jail.
While Dykes was being arrested, officers in the parking lot blocked the vehicle driven by David Thomassen and arrested both Thomassen and Laken Knight. Both were handcuffed and placed in the Washington Parish Jail.
Thomassen was booked on charges of introduction of contraband into the jail and possession of drug paraphernalia. He has eleven previous stays in the Washington Parish Jail beginning with a 2007 arrest for disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. Since that time, he has been arrested for offenses including driving while intoxicated, theft, distribution of drugs, theft, possession of stolen property, failure to appear in court, criminal damage to property, being a fugitive from another jurisdiction and criminal trespass. Throughout the years, Thomassen has been charged with nineteen criminal offenses.
Harris was booked into the parish jail on charges of introduction of contraband into the jail and obstructing a public passage. This is her ninth arrest since 2016 for a variety of charges including second degree kidnapping, burglary, battery, resisting arrest, child desertion, possession of illegal drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, probation violation, parole violation, introduction of contraband into a correctional facility, sale of illegal drugs, disturbing the peace and failure to appear in court. In total, Harris has been charged with thirty-seven criminal offenses.
“Driving themselves to jail certainly saved us the expense of going out and looking for them,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “This has to make our top ten list of stupid criminal acts. I can’t say enough good things about the good work by our jail and narcotics deputies. Working together, they prevented drugs from entering the jail and taking those illegal drugs out of circulation. I do regret that we cannot publish the pictures of these criminal offenders; however, our state legislature has decided that we can no longer publish pictures of arrested individuals except in certain extreme situations. I believe the public has a right to know who they are. Unfortunately, my hands are tied, even though this one arrest involves four criminal offenders who collectively have committed at least eighty-eight criminal acts.”
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