August 15, 2018
COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Szalajeski, 36, of Folsom, pleaded guilty Wednesday (August 15) to two counts of distribution of marijuana and two counts of malfeasance in office.
District Judge Raymond S. Childress sentenced Szalajeski to 10 years in prison with nine of them suspended on each of the distribution charges and five years with four of them suspended on each of the malfeasance charges. The sentences are to be served at the same time.
“As a law enforcement officer, this defendant was arresting citizens for the same conduct that he was personally engaged in,” District Attorney Warren Montgomery said. “This erodes the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system far beyond this one case. This will not be tolerated.”
While employed with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Szalajeski seized marijuana, alcohol, and other contraband while conducting traffic stops on October 25, 2016, and May 26, 2018. But instead of handling the evidence properly, he distributed it to his girlfriend for personal consumption.
When the crime was discovered, Szalajeski was fired from the Sheriff’s Office, and he was later charged.
In addition to the prison sentence, Szalajeski was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and to serve three years of probation when he is released from prison. Childress ordered Szalajeski to turn himself in on Friday (Aug. 17) to begin serving his sentence, and Childress warned the defendant that he would be arrested if he does not show up.
Criminal Division Chief Collin Sims and Assistant District Attorney Blake Peters prosecuted to the case.