10 DEFENDANTS PLEAD GUILTY TO CHARGES IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA COCAINE DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY
ALEXANDRIA, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that 10 defendants pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell, for their roles in a cocaine distribution network operating across the central Louisiana area.
The defendants who pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges are: Michael J. Wright, 27, of Houston, Dennis Wayne Bradford, 30, of Cottonport, La., Falon S. Maricle, 31, Brandon C. Thomas, 30, of Marksville, La., Abraham Baylor III, 38, Earnest G. Miles III, 25, Leotis V. Perry, 36, Sedrick D. Porter, 35, Terrace D. Winchester, 34, and Dontour D. Drakes, 37, of Alexandria, La. Drakes also pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, from January 2012 through March 2013, authorities in Avoyelles and Rapides parishes conducted an investigation into cocaine trafficking that resulted in the arrest of these 10 defendants. It was determined that this group was responsible for the sale and distribution of more than 10 kilos of cocaine. Law enforcement agents seized more than 5 kilograms of powder cocaine, 500 grams of crack cocaine, and approximately $70,000 in cash. The defendants obtained their cocaine from Houston and converted it into crack in the CENLA area to sell in Avoyelles and Rapides parishes.
The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine for the drug conspiracy count. Drakes will also serve an additional five years in prison for possessing of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Sentencing dates are set for January 30 and 31, 2014.
“The guilty pleas are the result of a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement,” Finley stated. “Our goal is to work with all of the law enforcement tools and expertise at our disposal to keep our communities and neighborhoods safe.”
The FBI Central Louisiana Safe Streets Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service Task Force, the Louisiana State Police, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Police Department, and the Louisiana Probation and Parole Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James G. Cowles and Seth Reeg are prosecuting the case.