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State Police Voice Disappointment In Arresting One of Their Own

Louisiana State Police say a trooper based out of Monroe has been arrested and is facing multiple charges - including the distribution of cocaine.<br><br>
MONROE -- Louisiana State Police say a trooper based out of Monroe has been arrested and is facing multiple charges - including the distribution of cocaine.
   
Colonel Michael Edmonson, Superintendent of LSP paid Monroe a visit on Tuesday night, all the way from Baton Rouge, as he and other officials are expressing their disappointment in having to arrest one of their own.

"Don't let what he did affect your opinion of those guys in blue," said District Attorney Jerry Jones.

Ronald Thomas, an 18-year veteran with State Police, was arrested on Monday with multiple charges, including the distribution of cocaine.

Thomas, 42, is charged with public payroll fraud, cocaine distribution, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, malfeasance in office, and obstruction of justice.

"The bigger part of it, I'm disgusted. I'm disgusted because I know what it takes to get to this point in a career," said Edmonson, who came to Monroe to personally take possession of the sergeant's badge, credentials and state-issued weapon.

Leonard Dunn, 38, of Monroe, was also arrested, his charges involving distribution of marijuana and hydrocodone. Police say Thomas worked with Dunn for two years to sell cocaine throughout Northeast Louisiana. Thomas served as the evidence custodian for northern Louisiana investigative operations.

State Police say he took items seized as evidence from investigations, and sold it into the streets for profit.

Officials say other cases led state police to start looking into Thomas in June 2012.

"Hats off to the investigators," said Edmonson. "This is somebody that worked with them and that's a tough thing to do."

Thomas is also accused of tipping off Dunn that he was being investigated, asking him to destroy the evidence and get rid of the money.

"His way of destroying it was to take it, sell it, and buy this stuff," said Edmonson.

On Monday night, State Police seized over $250,000 worth of "toys" from Thomas' residence. This includes an ATV, four-wheelers, an SUV, a truck, and even a boat -- all purchased brand new and within the past two years, according to state police.

"An individual so comfortable in taking something that wasn't his and using those gains to buy these toys," said Edmonson.

But Troopers say the real disappointment lies within Thomas' tarnished badge.

"When you think about the trust the public gives us, this isn't a right to wear this badge -- it's a privilege," said Edmonson.

"I have spent a significant part of my life with these troopers, there's nothing more sacred to me than that LSP badge," said Jones.

State Police say Thomas did not have a criminal history prior to his arrest. Thomas is being held at Ouachita Correctional Center, with his bond set at $250,000.

"He's in jail, he'll go through a trial, and he'll never wear this uniform again," said Edmonson.

State police say there may be additional arrests in this investigation.

If convicted, police say Thomas faces up to 92 years in prison and a $76,000 fine. Dunn could also face fines up to $65,000 and a 40-year prison sentence.

Thomas' items seized by State Police, worth $250,000.


     Ronald Thomas
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Leonard Dunn
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