NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans police arrested two men for selling heroin just around the corner from a local elementary school.
It happened in the 3200 block of Thalia street in Central City near the Silvanie Williams College Prep elementary school.
After the arrests, police said they seized more than 75 foils of heroin from a nearby convenience store. Investigators said it's an ongoing drug investigation that puts one of the worst drugs on the streets right near an elementary school.
“Many of our kids come from neighborhoods where it's actually commonplace to see some drug activity or to see a shooting,” said Ben Kleban, president of New Orleans College Prep, the charter organization that runs the school.
Students at the school get a break from that reality when they go to school every day.
“We can't put them in a bubble and just turn them the other way. I wish we could,” Kleban said.
On Dec. 12, New Orleans police busted a heroin distribution operation less than a block away from the school on Thalia Street.
“We had heard of some shootings, some gunfire in that area and no hits, just people discharging guns. We sent our task force down there and they actually made a small amount of heroin,” said NOPD 6th District Commander Robert Bardy.
The police report shows police went back and used an undercover buy to arrest 41-year-old Tyrone Dennis and 42-year-old George Dennis.
“From that arrest we were able to recover over 75 individual packets for distribution of heroin. We were actually looking at the store because George was one of the employees at the store,” Commander Bardy said.
Kleban said he's not surprised about the amount of heroin seized.
“I wish I could say that, but unfortunately, it's not [surprising]. I saw personally the volume of activity going on over there. And that is perhaps the only surprising thing about all of this is that the people involved in this activity were not trying to hide it,” Kleban said.
The school shootings in Connecticut have principals at schools like Sylvanie Williams being extra vigilant both inside their halls and outside in the neighborhoods.
“I think this is an example of what we can do as a school community is really be aware, really work with our police department on the front end, not after something happens,” Kleban said.
Police said they don't think the store owners had any knowledge that the heroin was being sold or stored there, but their investigation isn't complete.
Both of the Dennis brothers are charged with selling drugs within a close proximity to a school which carries with it a much stiffer jail sentence if convicted.