Investigation of hit-and-run nets drug and weapons arrests

(via NOPD)

First District police officers investigating a hit-and-run accident ended up finding a large cache of illegal drugs and guns.

The NOPD has arrested 28-year-old Areena Smith and 34-year-old Jeremiah Prater on charges related to suspected drug dealing. The arrests occurred on July 16 at Canal and North Dupre streets.

A search warrant was secured and subsequently executed at Prater’s residence. Investigators located several large bags of marijuana, methamphetamine, unknown pills, LSD, Ecstasy pills, $2,400 in cash, several scales, packaging, and other items related to the sale of narcotics.

A Beretta 9mm handgun with an additional $4,000 in cash were also located.

Prater, who was convicted of a sex offense in 2017, was also arrested for Illegal possession of a firearm with narcotics and as a felon. A judge in 2020, after Prater was arrested for failure to register as a sex offender, issued an order prohibiting him from possessing a gun.

Prater and Smith both remained jailed on Wednesday (July 20). Prater’s bond was set for $33,500; Smith’s was set for $9,500.

Prater faces multiple drug and weapons charges, including possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. Smith faces charges of methamphetamine possession, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and carrying a weapon along with a controlled substance.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact NOPD at 504-821-2222 or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.

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