Federal Jury Convicts Allen Gang
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that GIE PRESTON, age 39, BURNELL ALLEN, age 35, and SONNY ALLEN, age 31, all residents of New Orleans, Louisiana, were convicted late yesterday after a 4-day jury trial. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on a superseding indictment charging all defendants with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base “crack.” The jury also found SONNY ALLEN guilty of distributing a quantity of cocaine base “crack” on four occasions. In addition, GIE PRESTON was found guilty of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, being a convicted felon in possession of firearms, and conspiring to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. BURNELL ALLEN and SONNY ALLEN were found not guilty of conspiring to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and GIE PRESTON was found not guilty of another gun crime.
Evidence was presented at trial that these defendants are related and grew up in and around the former Melpomene Housing Development, engaged in high volume street level drug dealing over the course of several years. The majority of this activity took place near an older relative’s home located at 1218 Simon Bolivar Avenue. Further evidence presented showed that the defendants routinely carried firearms to protect themselves while engaged in distributing illegal narcotics.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. scheduled sentencing for April 8, 2015. GIE PRESTON faces 15 years to life; BURNELL ALLEN faces a mandatory life sentence; and SONNY ALLEN faces 20 years to life.
"The Allen Gang sold crack cocaine 'every day, all day' in the Guste high rises, and used guns to protect that business," U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite said in a statement. "These guilty verdicts ensure that these men spend decades in jail for terrorizing their community."
ATF Special Agent in Charge Phillip Durham stated, “For decades, the criminal enterprise known as the Allen family has preyed upon the local community by using firearms to commit violent crimes and distributing large quantities of illegal drugs. Unquestionably, these guilty verdicts are a resounding victory for the citizens of New Orleans and highlight the unyielding efforts of ATF and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit in combating these violent crimes.”
“This verdict is proof that the rules of the game have changed for good,” said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. “Through the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are working together every day to take dangerous individuals off the streets. We will not rest until every neighborhood in New Orleans is a safe neighborhood.”
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as part of the metro area’s Multi-Agency Gang Unit (MAG). As an integral component of NOLA FOR LIFE’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy, the MAG Unit consists of a partnership with New Orleans Police Department (NOPD); Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (DA); Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO); Louisiana State Police (LSP); Parole Board of the Louisiana Department of Corrections; United States Attorney’s Office (USAO); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); United States Marshal’s Service (USMS); and the United States Probation & Parole Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and the New Orleans Police Department in investigation this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Toomey and Andre Lagarde were in charge of prosecuting this matter.