A grand jury Friday at Iberville Parish Courthouse indicted longtime St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin “Butchie” Ambeau on charges that include money laundering, theft, malfeasance in office and filing or maintaining public documents.
Deputies seized computers, phones and videos from the actual building, according to Stassi.
He also was charged with counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and theft of $25,000 or greater. Additionally, he was charged with conspiracy to commit theft and filing false public documents.
“All we want is for them to give us an honest day’s work,” District Attorney Tony Clayton said. “We’ve convicted the chief of police of Brusly, the chief of police of Plaquemine, and we’ll end with (Ambeau). All the people want from us is to do our job and do it in an honest matter — that’s all they want. If you don’t do that, we’ve got something for you.”
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi expressed his disappointment over the arrest of a law enforcement officer.
“It’s a sad day for law enforcement when we have to arrest one of own,” he said. “No one is above the law.”
Roberto Sandoval (owner of Roberto’s River Road Restaurant), Kalayn Sandoval (the chief’s ex-wife) and “others unknown persons” were listed in the charge of conspiracy to commit theft. They were listed in the count that addressed the charge of “conspiracy to commit theft.”
The charges come after Iberville Parish Sheriff’s deputies raided Ambeau’s home July 15 after items from a murder investigation turned up missing. Laptops, computers and phones were seized in the raid.
Clayton issued subpoenas for the deputies to raid Ambeau’s home and office.
Ambeau’s vehicle had some of the personal items, some of which had not been put into evidence.
The money was found in an evidence room at the police department, but other items – computers, phones and videos – were seized from Ambeau’s home, Assistant District Attorney Scott Stassi said at the start of the investigation.
The items were from victims who died in a 2019 double homicide, he said.
The laptop belonged to Dararius Evans, a victim in a murder case investigated by the St. Gabriel Police Department, according to the bill of indictment.
The charge of falsifying documents stems from four allegedly false invoices purported to be from Roberto’s River Road Restaurant and/or RGSM Inc., and one fake invoice believed to be from Hwy. 30 Truck Stop, which Ambeau allegedly submitted to the city of St. Gabriel as requests for reimbursements for Christmas parties in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and an “All-White Event” Labor Day party in 2018.
Ambeau, 58, has served 19 years as St. Gabriel Police Chief. He was re-elected earlier this year and began his current term June 30.
Under the City of St. Gabriel’s municipal charter, the police chief — as an elected official — cannot be removed from office by the mayor and City Council.
Ambeau will remain police chief until a court judge renders a verdict, Mayor Lionel Johnson said Friday.
“He has to go through the process, and we wish him the best through it,” he said.