Brendan McCarthy / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @bmccarthyWWL

NEWORLEANS - Local authorities are searching for an 19-year-old New Orleans man who removed his electronic monitoring bracelet and has gone missing.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office received an electronic alert last night that Jamal Horton tampered with the bracelet and removed it, according to a news release from Sheriff Marlin Gusman.

Horton pleaded guilty two years ago to illegal carrying of a weapon. Late last year, he pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.

Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras issued Horton a 5-year suspended sentence, which kept him out of jail, and three years of probation, records show.

Records show Horton has failed several times to appear in court for probation hearings.

He was ordered to abide by a 6 p.m. curfew and submit to electronic monitoring. He was also ordered to undergo weekly drug tests, work 150 hours of community service and earn a degree.

When located, Horton will be charged with criminal damage to property and tampering with an electronic monitoring device, according to Gusman's office.

The electronic monitoring program, which is run by Gusman, has been under criticism recently. In October, Gusman said he would discipline a deputy who failed to check the status of a teen's ankle monitor, shortly before that teen went on to allegedly commit an armed robbery and carjacking. Gusman blamed mechanical difficulties.

Since its launch in October 2010, more than 800 people have been subject to electronic monitoring. Gusman has dubbed it a success, calling it a good cost-effective alternative to incarceration. He has cited statistics that only seven percent of those with bracelets are re-arrested while in the program.

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