When Dexter Collins was arrested in February, he was accused of being the hitman responsible for killing two people in 2017, one in exchange for $2,000 and 2 ounces of heroin.
Those killings fit into the tangled and murderous web that police have traced back to one Baton Rouge drug trafficking organization. But another arrest announced Monday allegedly ties Collins to a 2008 cold case that went unsolved until now.
Baton Rouge police didn’t reveal whether detectives believe the 2008 homicide is also connected to the local drug trade. A BRPD spokesman said there was a recent change involving a witness in the case, but didn’t elaborate on exactly how police pinned it on Collins or what his motive might have been.
Collins, 40, is accused of shooting Tangie Swanson outside an Old South Baton Rouge convenience store 12 years ago. Officials said at the time that her killing “appeared to be a hit” but couldn’t determine a motive.
Swanson had an extensive criminal record of her own, including several cases involving drug charges and a 2001 manslaughter conviction in the death of her girlfriend’s daughter. The child was just a toddler when she was found dead in the bathtub from blunt force trauma to her abdomen, officials said.
Swanson served 10 years for manslaughter and was released in 2006. She had been free for almost two years when she was killed in gunfire outside the store on East Boulevard. She was 47 years old.
The shooting occurred around 9:20 a.m. and the shooter was wearing a ski mask, police said at the time. Another man was also injured from a stray bullet. The shooter arrived and departed the scene in a pickup truck, which police believe was stolen and later abandoned a few blocks from the store.
Now 12 years later, Baton Rouge police were able to collect enough evidence they believe will implicate Collins. He had already been in jail since February, held without bond in the two 2017 homicides, which detectives have linked to “an extremely violent” drug trafficking organization based in Baton Rouge. Collins had additional pending charges — heroin possession and battery against his children’s mother — at the time of his February arrest.
A Baton Rouge man was arrested Thursday in the murder-for-hire of two men in 2017 on orders from the ringleader of a narcotics trafficking org…
The first homicide occurred in April 2017 when local rapper Lorenzo Dixon, whose stage name is Zoe Realla, was gunned down on Winbourne Avenue. The second occurred that September when David Walker, 68, was found dead behind the wheel of his car after witnessing a double homicide just hours earlier outside his Old South Baton Rouge house.
Collins was accused of pulling the trigger in both 2017 shootings under the direction of Martrell Harris, the alleged ringleader of the narcotics operation, who paid the hitman in money and drugs. Harris has been evading law enforcement for several months now. He’s wanted on several murder counts, including the 2017 homicides that Collins is accused of carrying out, according to police.
Yet another 2017 homicide that authorities have pinned on Harris and his organization left Alton Sterling’s cousin Antonio Sterling shot to death inside a burning vehicle, which was dumped in Old South Baton Rouge. The alleged getaway driver in that killing also helped Collins flee the scene of the April 2017 homicide, according to police.
Since Collins was already incarcerated — he’s being held without bond in the 2017 killings — he was rebooked Monday on another count of second-degree murder in the 2008 case.
Police say a man suspected of being the leader of a local drug trafficking organization ordered multiple killings in East Baton Rouge Parish.
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