Rotary Club looks at Drug Enforcement Agency

DEA Agent Chad Berard, third from left, was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Crowley’s Tuesday meeting talking about his time with the agency. Welcoming him were Crowley Rotarians, from left, program organizer Ken Goss, President-Elect Mary Zaunbrecher, and Past-president Mike Goss, who presided over Tuesday’s meeting.

Back row from left, Rev. James Proctor and Past-president Mike Goss, who presided over Tuesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Crowley, welcomed guests from Crowley Middle School to talk about the school’s Youth Act Club. They were, front row from left, Principal Chad Lemelle, Club Vice President Taylor Perrodin and Club President Robbi Palmer.

Berard provides prospective into agency

When Drug Enforcement Agency Agent Chad Berard had the opportunity to get back to his home state of Louisiana several years ago, he leapt at it.

“I jumped on the chance because the Bahamas has crawfish, but they’re lobsters and it’s hard to boil a sack of them,” he joked with the Rotary Club of Crowley Tuesday.

Berard was the guest speaker for Tuesday’s program and provided a look into the DEA’s function, particularly in this area.

He is now a part of the Lafayette office which includes a task force of local and state officers. The task force features 14 officers, including one from the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office, according to Berard. These task forces and officers work together to make an impact on the community.

“Our goal is to get the whole snake, not just its head or just its tail,” said Berard.

The Lafayette office is one of the DEA’s 87 offices around the world. The DEA has 2,200 officers.

The DEA and its offices have their work cut out for them, however, as Berard explained with every step the DEA takes, drug cartels continue to be a step ahead.

“As good as we get, we’re always a step behind,” he said.

Berard talked about how there are even submarines being made now to transport the drugs from one location to another, and many more technological innovations that have proven difficult to keep up with.

With the never-ending saga of it all, including how some cases have taken two to three years to close and others continue to spinoff into other cases, it may seem to be all fruitless to some, but for Berard and others, it’s an important fight.

“I believe in the fight we’re fighting,” he said.

Berard also talked to the Rotarians how there can definitely be a link from other crimes to drugs and drug use and how it is part of the reason the fight against drugs is so important.

As you move higher up in the chain, Berard pointed out, the drug trade becomes nothing more than a business — a deadly one in some cases as these “businessmen” are willing to do whatever it takes to continue to make money.

During the question and answer portion of his talk, discussion arose over the legalization of some drugs and whether the battle was truly winnable for DEA agents. For Berard, however, winnable and important are two different things.

Earlier in the meeting, the club welcomed representatives from Crowley Middle School’s Youth Act Club, President Robbi Palmer and Vice President Taylor Perrodin. The two explained what the club had been up to over the year and how it had even recently completed a fundraiser for Rotary International’s Polio Foundation. 

Jeannine LeJeune is the online editor for the Crowley Post-Signal. She can be reached at jeannine.lejeune@crowleytoday.com or 337-783-3450.

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