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Federal, State and local agencies arrest 10 in cocaine, crack distribution ring

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, La: United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a year-long undercover investigation resulted in 10 arrests in the Marksville and Alexandria areas on distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine charges.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials seized more than $60,000, 5 kilograms of powder cocaine, 350 grams of crack cocaine, and numerous firearms over the course of the investigation. The defendants are charged with various counts of cocaine and crack cocaine distribution, possession with intent to distribute, conspiracy, and firearms offenses that took place in Avoylles and Rapides parishes between January 2012 and March 2013.

Those arrested are: Michael J. Wright, 27, Houston; Dontour D. Drakes, 37, Alexandria; Sedrick D. Porter, 36, Alexandria; Abraham Baylor III, 39, Alexandria; Earnest G. “Gucci” Miles III, 25, Alexandria; Terrace D. Winchester, 34, Alexandria; Brandon C. “Lanky B” Thomas, 31, Marksville; Leotis V. Perry, 36, Alexandria; Falon S. Maricle, 31, Marsksville; and Dennis Lee Bradford, 30, Cottonport.

The charges and arrests are part of the Safe Streets Task Force “Operation Double Down.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation/Central Louisiana Gang Safe Streets Task Force; Alexandria Police Department; Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office; Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Marshall’s Service; Louisiana State Police; and Louisiana State Department of Probation and Parole, participate in the task force program and conducted the operation.

A federal grand jury returned the first “Operation Double Down” indictment March 20, 2013, charging the defendants on 16 counts related to the cocaine and crack cocaine distribution ring’s activities.

The defendants face a variety of federal and state charges. The penalties range from mandatory 10 years incarceration to life imprisonment. Initial appearance was held Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge James D. Kirk. Detention hearings have been set for April 1.

“It took the combined effort of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to make these arrests happen,” Finley said. “I want to thank the Alexandria Police Department, Avoyelles and Rapides sheriff’s offices, the Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana State Department of Probation and Parole, the U.S. Marshals, and the FBI for their roles in removing these drugs from our streets.”

“This operation will have a significant impact on the landscape of illegal drugs in Central Louisiana,” said Alexandria Police Chief Loren Lampert. “This investigation and its success serve as a perfect example of how federal, state and local law enforcement can and should cooperate in fighting crime. We are extremely pleased with the efforts of all agencies and the results of those efforts. We look forward to future cooperative efforts such as this to improve the quality of life in our community.”

An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Cowles Jr. is prosecuting the case.

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