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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 22, 2018

California Man Sentenced to 200 Months for Methamphetamine Conspiracy

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that LEONID DJUGA, a/k/a “Leonid Dzhuga,” age 40, a resident of Reseda, California, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk to 200 months in prison for charges stemming from a conspiracy to mail methamphetamine from California to south Louisiana for distribution.

According to court documents, in June 2014, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office (SBSO) deputies investigating methamphetamine distribution in Arabi, Louisiana, arrested two men who were selling methamphetamine on West Judge Perez Drive.  Through their investigation, deputies learned that their source of methamphetamine was DJUGA, a resident of Reseda, California.  SBSO deputies coordinated with agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Orleans Field Office, and between June 26th and 27th, 2014, federal agents and SBSO deputies intercepted four packages containing methamphetamine being mailed through Federal Express to Arabi, Louisiana.  In total, the four packages contained over one kilogram of methamphetamine.  According to DEA laboratory analysts, the methamphetamine in all four packages had a purity level of over 99%, with one shipment testing as 100% pure methamphetamine.

On July 15, 2014, DEA agents assisted by Los Angeles Police Department officers and a St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s deputy arrested DJUGA at his residence in Reseda, California, pursuant to a federal arrest warrant.  At DJUGA’S residence, agents located plastic bottles that were similar to the bottles used to package the methamphetamine that was seized in Louisiana.  Agents also seized from DJUGA’S office a notebook that appeared to be a drug ledger; a receipt for a package being shipped to Arabi, Louisiana; and three cellular telephones.  Agents also located a BMW that was registered to DJUGA.  In the trunk of the car, agents found a box cutter with residue.  The residue was field tested which resulted in a presumptive positive result for the presence of methamphetamine.  A subsequent search of DJUGA’S cellular phones pursuant to a warrant revealed text messages discussing shipments of packages to Louisiana and a photograph of a FedEx tracking label destined for Louisiana.

In sentencing DJUGA to 200 months in jail, Judge Africk also sentenced him to 5 years of supervised release after his term of imprisonment.  In a related case, on February 8, 2018, one of DJUGA’S co-conspirators, Dan Pizarro, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the scheme.  Pizarro had been convicted of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine after a four-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office.  U.S. Attorney Evans also thanked the District Attorney’s Office for Louisiana’s 34th Judicial District, the DEA Los Angeles Field Office, and the Los Angeles Police Department for their assistance in this successful prosecution.  Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Payne, Brandon Long, and Shirin Hakimzadeh handled the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated March 23, 2018