News and Press Releases

PRISON SENTENCE IN HEROIN CONSPIRACY AND GUILTY PLEA IN MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2011

ERROL HALL, age 25, a resident of New Orleans, was sentenced today to over ten (10) years (121 months) in prison and five (5) years supervised release by U. S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. after pleading guilty on October 13, 2010 to participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine hydrochloride, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to the court documents, in 2009, HALL distributed 25 gram bundles of heroin in the B. W. Cooper housing project on a daily basis. HALL and a number of his associate distributors routinely purchased and possessed firearms for protection from those who would try to steal their heroin or the money they made from selling heroin. HALL admitted he was responsible for distributing at least 1 kilogram of heroin.

Co-defendants still awaiting trial include, FELTON WEST, ERNEST TROSCLAIR, ROBERT JOHNSON, and ALVIN BARNES. Trial is scheduled to begin against those defendants on September 6, 2011. Defendant KEVIN TYLER remains a fugitive, and defendant THEODORE PIERCE was murdered earlier this year.

In a related case, SAMANTHA LEWIS, age 33, a resident of New Orleans, pleaded guilty before the Honorable Stanwood R. Duval, Jr., to a bill of information charging her with conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, LEWIS assisted MARK ROSS, HALL’s co-defendant, in concealing the source of the funds he used to purchase a 2009 Jaguar which was seized by the DEA upon his arrest for conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. ROSS pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin and cocaine hydrochloride and violations of the federal gun control act on October 13, 2010 and is awaiting sentencing. LEWIS faces a maximum of twenty (20) years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater. LEWIS will be sentenced on November 2, 2011.

The cases against HALL and LEWIS were investigated by DEA in collaboration with the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA) and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

The HIDTA Task Force is led by DEA and includes a team of dedicated investigators from the New Orleans Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. OCDETF is an important program which targets the most significant drug trafficking organizations within the United States, as well as those outside of the United States borders that impact drug trafficking within the United States. Also assisting in the enforcement operations were the Louisiana State Police, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Kenner Police Department, and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, the United States Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Service, and the Department for Housing and Urban Development-OIG.

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