Copyright 2005 The Times-Picayune Publishing Company
Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
June 22, 2005 Wednesday
State trooper was also a bookie, cops say;
Veteran charged with malfeasance
By Michelle Hunter, East Jefferson bureau
A Louisiana state trooper has been booked with money laundering and malfeasance in office, accused of running a bookmaking operation out of his Meraux home and the Metairie office where he worked as a member of a multiagency drug task force, officials said.
Trooper Warren Ayo Jr., a 13-year veteran, was booked Monday in both St. Bernard and Jefferson Parish on identical charges of malfeasance in office, money laundering and gambling by computer, State Police Spokesman Lt. Lawrence McLeary said.
Ayo, 36, of 2112 Aramis Drive, was booked with an additional charge of payroll fraud in Jefferson because he allegedly took bets on various sporting events while at work in the headquarters of the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Unit, McLeary said.
The unit, managed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, covers 12 parishes and counties in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.
"This incident is extremely disappointing," State Police Superintendent Col. Henry Whitehorn said Tuesday. "It violates the public's trust and dishonors our organization."
Ayo was released from the St. Bernard Parish jail on a $10,000 bond. He was then booked into the Gretna jail, where he was released Monday on a $13,000 bond. Phone calls to his home in Meraux were not returned Tuesday.
At the time of his arrest, Ayo was on terminal leave, a 56-day period prior to retirement during which a trooper is still on the payroll but not active within the department, McLeary said. The allegations against Ayo are believed to have occurred while he was still at work, he said.
McLeary did not know how long Ayo is believed to have allegedly run the bookmaking racket. The investigation, which is ongoing, began seven months ago when State Police received an anonymous tip about the trooper, McLeary said.
It's not yet known who Ayo's alleged customers were.
"There's nothing that I've been told that would indicate that anybody else in State Police would be implicated," McLeary said.
Ayo's computer has been seized and investigators are going through the files to see what turns up, he said.
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Michelle Hunter can be reached at [email protected]
or (504) 883-7054.
June 22, 2005