Man pleads to conspiracy charge
ALVIN BARNES, age 32, a resident of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty today before U. S. District Judge Stanwood Duval, Jr., to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten today.
According to the court record, BARNES is the 20th defendant to plead guilty to charges stemming from the DEA’s 2009 investigation of a large scale drug distribution network rooted in the B. W. Cooper public housing complex. In January 2009, the DEA began an investigation of William Stevenson as a supplier of heroin to retail distributors in the B. W. Cooper public housing development. A wiretap of Stevenson’s phone revealed he also trafficked in cocaine hydrochloride and one of his sources was ALVIN BARNES. During the interception of Stevenson’s phone, BARNES was intercepted discussing with Stevenson the whereabouts of a kilogram package of cocaine hydrochloride that BARNES had been paid to mail to Stevenson and Stevenson’s cousin, Leonard White. As evidenced from the telephone conversation, BARNES and Stevenson had a history of dealing together, but on this occasion BARNES pocketed the money for the cocaine and failed to deliver the goods to Stevenson and his cousin.
BARNES admitted responsibility for at least 500 grams of cocaine hydrochloride, but not more than 5 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride. The only remaining defendant in the case is Kevin Tyler who has been a fugitive from justice since his indictment on November 5, 2010.
BARNES is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2012. He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life imprisonment on the conspiracy charge due to his prior drug felony conviction.
The case was 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). 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.
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. The NOPD/DEA HIDTA group consists of 6 NOPD detectives and 4 DEA agents. Unlike any other DEA group in the region, the HIDTA group works exclusively in Orleans Parish.
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, and the Department for Housing and Urban Development-OIG.
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