In the St. Landry Parish court system, three cases against people accused of committing violent crimes each took big steps forward.

Woman Indicted In Shooting Death Of Man In Opelousas Home

31-year-old Niesha Charles has been indicted on a charge of 2nd Degree Murder in the death of Jason Edwards, who died on August 10, 2022. Law enforcement officers responded to 516 Halpern Street in Opelousas to find Edwards with a single gunshot wound to the chest. He died at the home. Charles - who was also indicted for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm - is set to be arraigned on November 17, 2022.

St. Landry Parish Courthouse, google street view
St. Landry Parish Courthouse, google street view

Teenager Indicted In Armed Robbery-Turned-Fatal

17-year-old Jakyri Mykel Altrevan Paddio has been indicted in the 1st Degree Murder of Jeremy Chaisson, who died during on August 5, 2022. The fatal incident happened in Sunset as court documents say it began as an armed robbery and ended with Chaisson being shot to death. Paddio is set to be arraigned on October 27, 2022.

Man Convicted For Assaulting, Attacking, And Threatening To Kill His Girlfriend

31-year-old Brandon J. Smith of New Iberia is scheduled to be sentenced next week on a host of charges, including Aggravated 2nd Degree Battery, Aggravated Assault with a Firearm and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Court documents say Smith - who has an extensive criminal history - was arrested on May 9, 2019, for assaulting, attacking, and threatening to kill his girlfriend, Devin Asiegbu. Smith will be sentenced on October 13, 2022.

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Fighting Fentanyl: Huge Arrests Made Across Acadiana in 2022

The fight against fentanyl is a daunting one as the highly potent drug continues to take lives every day across the country. From Lafayette to the surrounding areas, law enforcement agencies have their hands full as they fight to get fentanly off their respective streets.

The awareness for the fatal causes of fentanyl are there as people across the Acadiana area (and the state) are not only mourning the death of loved ones lost to the substance but are holding memorials and recently worked with legislators to pass "Millie's Law," which increases criminal penalties for those who sale and distribute fentanyl.

Fentanyl has become a leading drug in an epidemic that takes over 100,000 lives each year, according to the CDC. The drug is often added to heroin without it being disclosed to the person buying the drug. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency outlines how dangerous fentanyl has become:

"Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths. Clandestinely-produced fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico."

Let's take a look back at headline-catching cases involving fentanyl in 2022.

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