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Press Release

Arizona Man Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to Violating the Federal Controlled Substances Act

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – KABIEN CORTES, age 34, a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced by United States District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo to seventy (70) months’ imprisonment, three (3) years of supervised release, and a $100.00 mandatory special assessment fee after pleading guilty to a superseding bill of information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

According to court documents, on March 16, 2020 during a DEA investigation, a drug supplier arranged the delivery of methamphetamine to the New Orleans area.  On March 19, 2020, the DEA determined that a driver, later identified as Joanna Manzano, was travelling from Phoenix, Arizona to New Orleans with the methamphetamine and would need money for expenses.  The DEA also determined that the methamphetamine was in liquid form and that another individual would arrive in New Orleans at a later date to convert the liquid methamphetamine into a solid form. 

The investigation disclosed that Manzano, accompanied by Cortes, traveled to New Orleans.  After Manzano and Cortes arrived in Louisiana, law enforcement officers identified their vehicle and maintained surveillance on them until they arrived in Metairie.  On March 20, 2020, at approximately 11:50 p.m., Louisiana State Troopers conducted a traffic stop of Manzano and Cortes.  After obtaining consent to search the vehicle, troopers noticed that the bed-liner of the truck had been removed and was being held in place by a rubber cord.  A continued search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of approximately 4,576 grams of liquid methamphetamine in the gas tank of the vehicle. 

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Louisiana State Police.  The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney André Jones of the Narcotics Unit.


Shane M. Jones

Public Information Officer

United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

United States Department of Louisiana

Updated July 19, 2023

Drug Trafficking