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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2003

21 Arrested on Cocaine and Crack Charges

NOV 20--James Craig, Special Agent in Charge of DEA's New Orleans Office, Jim Letten, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Louis Reigel, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Orleans Division, Slidell Police Chief Freddy Drennan, Saint Tammany Parish Sheriff Rodney J. Strain, Jr., New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Eddie Compass and Louisiana State Police Superintendent Terry Landry, Theo Duroncelet, United States Marshal, and Tony Soto, Gulf Coast HIDTA Director, announced today the execution of arrest warrants for twenty-one (21) individuals including CHRISTIAN BICKHAM, JEROME VINCE, DERRICK CHRIS GUYOT, IKE LAURENT, BYRON GREEN, RAFAEL SYLVE, SIMON WASHINGTON, NIGEL MEYERS, MICHAEL BAHAM, LEVI MELONE, SOKOTO BULLOCK, DAMON LANDOR, KENDALL SANDERS, CHANCE PICHON, TINA SANDERS,JAMES MITCHELL, SORON SALTER, DEANNA FAIRLEY, ALFRED THOMAS, DEDRICK JACKSON, TOSH HUMPHREY and NIGEL MYERS. The defendants were arrested pursuant to warrants issued after a federal grand jury returned three separate federal multiple-count indictments last week on Thursday, November 13, 2003. The indictments charged the defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride (powder) and cocaine base (crack) and substantive violations of the Federal Gun Control Act and Federal Controlled Substances Act. In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing undercover investigation, the indictments remained sealed until late yesterday.

In the first of the three indictments, eleven individuals were charged with drug distribution offenses. Specifically, eleven (11) individuals, including CHRISTIAN BICKHAM, JEROME VINCE, DERRICK CHRIS GUYOT, IKE LAURENT, BYRON GREEN, RAFAEL SYLVE, SIMON WASHINGTON, MICHAEL BAHAM, LEVI MELONE, SOKOTO BULLOCK, and DAMON LANDOR were indicted for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine base (crack) and cocaine hydrochloride (powder) and distribution of cocaine base in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 846(Count 1). Each defendant is also charged in Counts 2 through 11 with the use of a communication facility in furtherance of a narcotics offense in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 843(b). The maximum penalty for a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and 846 as contained in Count 1 is twenty (20) years imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. The maximum penalty for violations of Title 21, United States Code, Section 843(b) (Counts 2 -11) is four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

Specifically, defendants face the following maximum prison terms pursuant to the charges in the instant indictment:
Count 1 - all defendants: maximum of twenty (20) years imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine;
Count 2 - BICKHAM and VINCE: maximum of four (4) year imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 3 - BICKHAM and LANDOR: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 4 - BICKHAM and BULLOCK: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 5 - BICKHAM and LAURENT: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 6 - GREEN and WASHINGTON: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 7 - BICKHAM and GUYOT: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 8 - BICKHAM and MELONE: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 9 - BICKHAM and BAHAM: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 10 - BICKHAM and SYLVE: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
Count 11 - BICKHAM and GREEN: maximum of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine;
If convicted on all counts, defendant BICKHAM could receive up to fifty-six (56) years imprisonment and/or $1,270,000 in fines.

The remaining defendants in the indictment, if convicted, each face a possible total sentence of up to twenty-four (24) years imprisonment and $1,030,000 in fines. Additionally, all defendants face forfeiture of illegally used or obtained property.


In the second of the indictments returned on November 13, 2003, a total of nine (9) individuals, including KENDALL SANDERS, CHANCE PICHON, TINA SANDERS, JAMES MITCHELL, SORON SALTER, DEANNA FAIRLEY, ALFRED THOMAS, DEDRICK JACKSON, and TOSH HUMPHREY were indicted for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine base (crack) and cocaine hydrochloride (powder) and distribution of cocaine base in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 846(Count 1). Each defendant, is also charged with the use of a communication facility in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 843(b) (Counts 6-13). Additionally, SANDERS, PICHON and MITCHELL are charged with substantive narcotics distribution offenses (Counts 2, 3, 4, and 5).

Specifically, Count 2 charges KENDALL SANDERS and CHANCE PICHON with distribution of 28 grams of crack cocaine, with a possible penalty of between five (5) and forty (40) years imprisonment and a $2,000,000 fine.

Count 3 charges KENDALL SANDERS with distribution of 25 grams of crack cocaine, for which he could receive between five (5) and forty (40) years imprisonment, and a $2,000,000 fine.

In Count 4, JAMES MITCHELL is charged with distribution of 14 grams of crack cocaine, with a possible maximum penalty of between five (5) and forty (40) years imprisonment, and a $2,000,000 fine.

In Count 5, KENDALL SANDERS is charged with distribution of 66 grams of crack cocaine, with a possible maximum penalty of between ten (10) years and life imprisonment, with a $4,000,000 fine.

Count 6 charges KENDALL SANDERS and SALTER with a communications count, carrying a possible maximum penalty of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

Count 7 charges KENDALL SANDERS and TINA SANDERS with a communications count, carrying a possible maximum penalty of up to four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

Count 8 charges KENDALL SANDERS and PICHON with a communications count, carrying a possible maximum penalty of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

Count 9 charges KENDALL SANDERS and FAIRLEY with a communications count, carrying a possible maximum penalty of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

Count 10 charges KENDALL SANDERS and HUMPHREY with a communications count, carrying a possible maximum penalty of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

Count 11 charges KENDALL SANDERS and MITCHELL with a communications count, carrying a possible maximum penalty of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

Count 12 charges KENDALL SANDERS and JACKSON with a communications count, carrying a possible maximum penalty of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

Count 13 charges KENDALL SANDERS and THOMAS with a communications count, carrying a possible maximum penalty of four (4) years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

If convicted on all counts, the charged defendants could receive the following penalties:
KENDALL SANDERS: minimum ten (10) years, maximum life imprisonment, with $8,240,000 in fines; CHANCE PICHON: minimum five (5) years, maximum forty-four (44) years imprisonment, with $3,030,000 in fines; TINA SANDERS: up to twenty-four (24) years imprisonment and $1,030,000 in fines; JAMES MITCHELL, SORON SALTER, DEANNA FAIRLEY, ALFRED THOMAS, DEDRICK JACKSON, and TOSH HUMPHREY: each up to twenty-four (24) years imprisonment and $1,030,000 in fines.

In the third of the November 13, 2003 indictments, NIGEL MEYERS was indicted in Count 1 for possession with the intent to distribute between 500 grams and five (5) kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride (powder) in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1). Also, MYERS was indicted in Count 2 for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1). The penalty for count one is a minimum term of imprisonment of five (5) up to a maximum of forty (40) years along with a $2,000,000 fine. The penalty for count two is a minimum of five (5) years up to a maximum of life imprisonment.

The three indictments returned against these twenty-one (21) defendants was a result of an ongoing, undercover joint federal-state-local investigation led by Special Agents of the FBI's New Orleans Gang Task Force, in concert with the Slidell Police Department, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana State Police, New Orleans Police Department, and Special Agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Gulf Coast HIDTA and Louisiana State Probation and Parole.

The following defendants were arrested during a round-up in the early hours of this morning by federal agents and local police:

CHRISTIAN BICKHAM, of Slidell, Louisiana;
IKE LAURENT, of Lacombe, Louisiana;
BYRON GREEN, of Lacombe, Louisiana;
LEVI MELONE, of Lacombe, Louisiana;
MICHAEL BAHAM, of Slidell, Louisiana;
DAMON LANDER, of Slidell, Louisiana.
JEROME VINCE, of Slidell, Louisiana;
SIMON WASHINGTON, of Slidell, Louisiana;
SOKOTO BULLOCK, of New Orleans, Louisiana;
KENDALL SANDERS, of Slidell, Louisiana;
CHANCE PICHON, of Slidell, Louisiana;
TINA SANDERS, of Slidell, Louisiana;
JAMES MITCHELL, of Slidell, Louisiana;
DEANNA FAIRLEY, of Pearlington, Mississippi;
ALFRED THOMAS, of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi ;
DEDRICK JACKSON, of Pearlington, Mississippi;
NIGEL MEYERS, of Picayune, Mississippi.

During the arrests, several firearms, including an assault rifle were seized, as well as drugs, 12 cars, 2 residents, miscellaneous jewelry and approximately $118,000 in cash.

By the time of this Press Release, Assistant United States Attorneys will have moved to detain the defendants placed under arrest and presently in custody.

Currently, the following defendants remain at large: DERRICK CHRIS GUYOT, RAFAEL SYLVE, SORON SALTER and TOSH HUMPHREY.

The defendants in these three (3) indictments are charged with having participated in a large multi-kilogram cocaine distribution network operating on the North Shore, in and around Slidell, Louisiana.
According to the indictment, they constituted members of an organization which imported and stored significant quantities of cocaine powder and crack for final distribution and consumption throughout the New Orleans Metropolitan area and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Also, according to the indictment, the organization converted powder to crack cocaine for retail distribution. A number of the defendants have prior narcotics-related convictions on both federal and state levels.

The undercover investigation, which began with Special Agents of the FBI working in concert with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, was participated in by Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, New Orleans Police Department, and Louisiana State Police.

Importantly, the case was coordinated under HIDTA, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Organization which targets and facilitates the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking organizations.

The ongoing undercover operation utilized telephone wiretaps which were established and monitored by Special Agents of the FBI.

According to United States Attorney Jim Letten:

"Today's arrest pursuant to last weeks three related indictments against these twenty-one (21) individuals is yet another in a series of clear, strong, and unmistakable messages that:

I.Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement Authorities are working together aggressively and effectively to seek out, identify, arrest and convict those who attempt to introduce dangerous drugs into our communities; and
II.Investigative agencies such as the FBI, DEA, State Police, NOPD, Slidell Police Department, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, and HIDTA, are working together, as partners, with the United States Attorney's Office, to achieve the arrest and prosecution of drug traders."

Speaking to the indictment, arrest and the lengthy undercover investigation which yielded today's indictments, Louis Reigel, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI New Orleans Division, stated:
"One thing criminals in Metropolitan New Orleans should learn is that the Federal, State and Local law enforcement teams will remain relentless in our commitment in bringing criminals to justice. Citizens demand it and we intend to provide it."

The United States Attorney reminds citizens that inasmuch as the indictments announced today are accusations under the Constitution of the United States, the defendants are presently presumed innocent until proven guilty by competent evidence.

The prosecution of the cases is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Duane A. Evans and William J. Quinlan, Jr.

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