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Deputies still looking for suspect after brazen hijacking of pharmaceutical truck

2 years 7 months 3 weeks ago Monday, October 04 2021 Oct 4, 2021 October 04, 2021 4:51 PM October 04, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

PORT ALLEN - A highway heist, right here in the capital area, detectives described it as something straight out of Hollywood.

"It basically rivals something you would see from a movie scene like the 'Fast and Furious,'" Captain Kevin Cyrus with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said.

A driver of a pharmaceutical delivery truck was traveling down US 190 and was flagged down by a man on a motorcycle. Thinking there might be something wrong with his truck, he complied.

"Driver of the Penske truck gets out, he sees a silver Camaro behind him, the driver of that vehicle gets out, armed with a handgun and approaches the driver. So now the driver says, 'this is not good'," Cyrus said.

Another man got out from the Camaro and tied the driver's hands behind his back. They left him on the side of the road and drove off with the truck.

Once the driver was able to get a hold of a phone and get police involved, West Baton Rouge deputies and state troopers located the abandoned truck within an hour.

"They noticed many of the wire ties had been snapped and rummaged through looking for certain narcotics, mostly of the opioid base."

Since the truck carrying the meds was an unmarked Penske rental truck, Cyrus knew it had to be an inside job.

"My first thought was to get the recent hires and fires from the delivery company, which they provided, and one of the suspects had worked there for a single day."

That's how they were lead to Darrell Harris Jr. And Landry Battley Jr.

However, the man with the gun who drove the truck away is still missing, along with an unknown amount of stolen pills.

Like many communities around the country, West Baton Rouge parish is dealing with an opioid crisis. Captain Cyrus said this incident is proof of how desperate things are getting.

"This particular incident, it only magnifies it. They're getting it from prescription as well. But when you have heists and carjackings, when you get a large quantity of opioid pills out there, it only magnifies the problem."

Harris recently bonded out of jail on a $175,000 bond. Cyrus said federal charges could be coming.

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