Eleven Individuals Involved in International Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization Indicted
Federal and local law-enforcement officials announced today that 41 individuals were charged in connection with firearms-trafficking, drug-distribution, conspiracy, and other offenses following a three-month violent crime reduction initiative in New Orleans this summer.
“The dozens of charges and arrests announced today represent what federal, state, and local law enforcement can accomplish when we work hand-in-hand to take violent criminals and trigger-pullers off our streets,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “When we harness the Justice Department’s resources and technology — especially crime-gun intelligence from ATF’s NIBIN network — we are able to identify and arrest the culprits of gun violence and safeguard our communities. Across the country, our towns and cities are safer because of the dedication and bravery of federal agents and their state and local partners, and the 21st-century crime-solving tools DOJ is able to provide.”
“For months, incredibly brave ATF agents and our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners have been investigating violent criminals who have terrorized New Orleans,” said Director Steve Dettelbach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “The results are now clear: dozens of arrests; scores of seized firearms, including guns previously used in crimes; recoveries of stolen guns and guns with obliterated serial numbers; and the seizure of deadly machine gun conversion devices. All done better than ever using crime gun intelligence to catch the worst of the worst. ATF commits to continue using and sharing its intelligence with our courageous partners around the country to further drive down violent crime."
“Many thanks to all of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners for their invaluable efforts, unrelenting vigilance, and selfless contributions to the Operation Big Easy Initiative,” said U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “When we work together and share information, good results occur. To our community, rest assured that we will continue to combat violent crime throughout the Eastern District of Louisiana. Every resource and every force multiplier we possess, will be used to accomplish that goal.”
Special Agent in Charge Joshua Jackson of the ATF New Orleans Division, Special Agent in Charge Bradley L. Byerly of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Orleans Division, and Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams provided additional details relating to the initiative, as well as other narcotics and violence-prevention efforts.
Indictments and complaints were recently unsealed in federal court. The charges stemmed from the extensive, targeted, and sustained effort this past summer, led by ATF and assisted by other federal, state, and local law-enforcement partners, to clamp down on illegal firearms trafficking, use, and possession, as well as the associated distribution of drugs, in New Orleans.
Overall, this operation resulted in approximately 71 crime-related firearms being permanently removed from New Orleans’ streets. The seized weapons included a significant number of stolen firearms and others with obliterated serial numbers. NIBIN data connected a number of the firearms to violent criminal activity, including homicides and felonious assaults, that took place in the New Orleans area and Gulf Coast region in 2022 and 2023. And six of the weapons are machinegun-conversion devices or “switches,” which enable a firearm to fire in fully automatic mode.
Some of these individuals also sold controlled substances to law enforcement. Many of these sales took place in public parking lots of business establishments during business hours or in recreational areas while nearby citizens engaged in their day-to-day errands or recreational activities. During this investigation, law enforcement purchased or seized over two kilograms of fentanyl/heroin mix, over one-half kilogram of cocaine and cocaine base, and over one-half kilogram of methamphetamine.
The following is a breakdown of the charges in United States District Court, according to court documents:
The following is a breakdown of the charges in Orleans Criminal District Court, according to court documents:
ATF investigated the cases, with assistance from the DEA, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police, U.S. Marshals Service, City of New Orleans Office of Criminal Justice Coordination, and the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, with additional thanks to the New Orleans Emergency Management Service and Crime Stoppers, GNO. This operation was also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces initiative.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office are prosecuting the cases.
Indictments and criminal complaints are merely allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.