COVINGTON—Rose P. Graham, 47, of Hammond, agreed to plead guilty Thursday (April 7) to three counts of conspiracy for plotting to sell marijuana and cocaine on behalf of two Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s deputies who were on a federal drug enforcement task force.
One of the deputies, Johnny Domingue, pleaded guilty last month and is awaiting sentencing. The other, Karl Newman, faces charges in both St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes. Both were members of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force.
“This is one of the most disturbing cases of public corruption that I’ve seen—officers who take an oath to enforce the law, conspiring with drug dealers to break the law,” District Attorney Warren Montgomery said. “I am proud of the work that my office has done, in conjunction with federal and other state agencies, to root out these individuals and assure that they receive significant punishment.”
Graham faces from 10 to 15 years in prison at hard labor and a fine of between $100,000 and $175,000 on the first count, conspiracy to possess 200 to 400 grams of cocaine hydrochloride; from five to 15 years in prison at hard labor and a fine of up to $25,000 on the second count, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana; and from two to 15 years in prison at hard labor and a fine up to $25,000 for the third count, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute schedule II controlled dangerous substances.
Domingue and Newman executed a search warrant on August 14 last year at Graham’s Hammond home, where they found an assortment of drugs, $3,025 in cash, and two stolen handguns. The officers then began colluding with Graham, regarding the distribution of various controlled dangerous substances. Five months later, Graham met a buyer, who (unbeknownst to Domingue, Newman and Graham) was an undercover officer, in the parking lot of a Madisonville bar to sell about 5.35 pounds of marijuana that had been provided by Domingue. On Jan. 24, Graham again met the buyer at the bar and negotiated to sell an additional 10 pounds of marijuana from Domingue for $3,000. The sale was to take place the next day, but Domingue had grown suspicious that Graham’s drug customer was actually a police officer and advised her not to complete the sell. She ultimately sold the remaining drugs anyway to another customer.
On. Jan. 26, Louisiana state troopers executed a search warrant of Domingue’s residence in Maurepas, Louisiana, where they found evidence bags that had been signed over to him by Newman. One of the sealed bags included 300 grams of cocaine hydrochloride, while another had a small quantity of oxycodone and morphine-based pills and packaging for prescription pills. The troopers also located “tri-parish” evidence bags that included an assortment of prescription medications, empty pill bottles, and a voluminous number of manila envelopes that contained additional prescription medications. Some of the drugs had been obtained by Domingue from another law enforcement officer through a prescription drug take-back program.
As part of her plea agreement, Graham has agreed to cooperate with authorities in the ongoing investigation. She is set to be sentenced Oct. 13.