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Press Release

Convenience Store Operator Pleads Guilty To Gun and Drug Charges

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

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA –  HAFIZ ALKHAWAJAH, a/k/a “Ock” age 59, pleaded guilty on November 18, 2020, to aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin and cocaine base in violation of Title 21 United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C) and 846, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2, and to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). ALKHAWAJAH faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and at least three years of Supervised Release as to Count One, and up to 10 years imprisonment and three years of Supervised Release as to Count Two. Additionally, ALKHAWAJAH faces $100.00 special assessment fee for each count.

ALKHAWAJAH operated a corner-store named “Mel’s” in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans in 2018 and allowed his co-conspirators to sell drugs in and around the store.  When he was arrested in February of 2019, he was also found in possession of firearm, after having been previously been convicted of a felony in Jefferson Parish in 2013.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Louisiana praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Orleans Gang Task Force.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Myles Ranier and Kathryn McHugh.


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Updated November 25, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods