CHALMETTE, La. - Two Chalmette residents were arrested earlier this week after authorities found $22,000 of marijuana hidden under their children’s bed.
Authorities also found heroin, a heroin-like prescription drug known as Suboxone, $7,800 in cash, scales and a loaded handgun with its serial number removed.
Brandon Celestain, 25, and Sanaa Halum, 31, are being held at the St. Bernard Parish Prison in lieu of bonds - $750,000 for Celestain and $500,000 for Halum.
“What made us sick was these drug-dealing scum bags had the nerve to hide the 10 pounds of marijuana in a suitcase under their children’s bed,” St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Maj. Chad Clark said in a news release. “Also, they had a loaded gun in the closet in the same kids’ room.”
Though ages weren’t given for the children, they’re described as two young boys and an older girl.
Sheriff James Pohlmann said the bust culminated one of the largest marijuana seizures in the parish “in some time.”
Both Celestain and Halum were caught by an ongoing narcotics investigation that began in the parish in January, Pohlmann said.
The gun had notches filed on it, which Clark said could mean it was used in shootings. The sheriff’s office will work with other agencies to determine whether the gun was used in a shooting.
Five years ago, Celestain was arrested and served time in prison after being caught with crack, Pohlmann said. Upon being arrested, he claimed the marijuana, adding that a week earlier he had had 22 pounds of the drug. Neither Celestain nor Halum claimed the other narcotics found.
“Where does this leave the kids who are oblivious to what went on?” Pohlmann said. “These people made bad decisions to be drug-dealing and also put their children at risk by having the drugs around the children and leaving a loaded gun in the closet in their room.”
The investigation will continue, the sheriff said, by using phone numbers recovered during the bust. Sheriff’s officers said they will look for who sold Celestain the marijuana and who he distributed the drugs to.
Both were booked and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, heroin and Suboxone; possession of a firearm with obliterated markings; possession of controlled, dangerous substances in the presence of juveniles; child endangerment; and possession of firearms while in possession of controlled, dangerous substances.
Additionally, Celestain was booked for being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm while Halum was charged on warrants of arrest issued March 4 for alleged distribution of marijuana and Suboxone.