JURY FINDS FERRIDAY DRUG TRAFFICKERS GUILTY OF METH CONSPIRACY CHARGES
ALEXANDRIA, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a jury found Maurice T. Smith, 33, and Chavo T. Thomas, 30, both of Ferriday, La., guilty for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. United States Chief District Judge Dee D. Drell presided over the trial. Both defendants face mandatory life sentences.
The trial started Tuesday and ended today with the jury returning the guilty verdict after deliberating for an hour and 20 minutes. The jury found that Smith and Thomas conspired with others to travel to California in October 2011 to buy methamphetamine. The defendants were arrested in Brookhaven, Miss., while traveling on a train with 2 pounds of pure methamphetamine intended to be sold in Ferriday.
“We commend the work of the law enforcement agencies who investigated this case,” Finley stated. “They were able to stop this shipment of illegal drugs before it could be sold in the Western District of Louisiana. I also want to thank the prosecutors who tried this case. My office will continue to prosecute these types of cases to the fullest extent of the law.”
Smith and Thomas were arrested as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation “Delta Blues” investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigations Central Louisiana Safe Streets Task Force, which is composed of the Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department, participated in the investigation. The U.S. Marshals and the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office also participated in the investigation. The Southwest Mississippi Narcotics Task Force, Brookhaven (Mississippi) Police Department and the Lincoln County (Mississippi) Sheriff’s Office assisted in the defendants’ arrest.
The OCDETF program is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys James G. Cowles Jr. and Seth Reeg prosecuted the case.