Four Defendants Plead Guilty in Seventh Ward-Based Heroin and Firearms Conspiracy
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced the guilty plea of four defendants in a wide-ranging federal narcotics investigation. DARRELL LEWIS, a/k/a “Lil’ Darrell,” age 31; KEVIN WALKER, age 24; CARL LEWIS, a/k/a “Curl,” age 24; and STERLING PIPKINS, a/k/a “Shoe,” age 32; all of New Orleans, pled guilty today to conspiracy to distribute heroin.
DARRELL LEWIS pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, for which he faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment, a maximum $20,000,000 fine, and at least 10 years of supervised release. CARL LEWIS, KEVIN WALKER, and STERLING PIPKINS each pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Due to his prior criminal history, CARL LEWIS faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment, a maximum $8,000,000 fine, and at least 8 years of supervised release. KEVIN WALKER and STERLING PIPKINS each face a mandatory minimum of 5 years and maximum of 40 years of imprisonment, a maximum $5,000,000 fine, and at least 4 years of supervised release.
Additionally, DARRELL LEWIS, KEVIN WALKER, and CARL LEWIS also pled guilty to conspiracy to possess and use firearms in furtherance of a drug conspiracy. That charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to 3 years of supervised release.
According to court documents, DARRELL LEWIS, KEVIN WALKER, CARL LEWIS, and STERLING PIPKINS conspired together to sell heroin in New Orleans’ Seventh Ward, specifically the intersection of Frenchmen and North Villere Streets. DARRELL LEWIS was the leader of the group. KEVIN WALKER, CARL LEWIS, and STERLING PIPKINS served as street-level dealers, selling heroin to both other heroin dealers and users. Another defendant, DARRYL LEWIS, a/k/a “Uncle Tom,” a/k/a “Poppa Tom,” age 62, tested the heroin, stored guns, and helped sell heroin as well.
Members of this conspiracy kept and maintained firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities. On October 23, 2014, Darryl Lewis was arrested by officers with the Major Crimes Task Force at his residence at 1320 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans. Pursuant to a search and seizure warrant, officers recovered an Armalite Model AR10, 7.62x51mm rifle; a Bushmaster Model XM15E2S AR15-pattern, 5.56mm rifle; a Stag Arms AR15-pattern, 5.56mm rifle; a MAK90 AK47-pattern, 7.62x39mm rifle; a Norinco SKS, 7.62x39mm rifle; and a SKS-pattern, 7.62x39mm rifle. DARRYL LEWIS was initially charged in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court and was released after posting a bond.
More guns were recovered when the co-conspirators were arrested by FBI agents, DEA agents, and NOPD officers on December 12, 2014, pursuant to arrest warrants issued by the U.S. District Court in this case. Agents recovered a loaded Glock Model 27 handgun with an extended clip at DARRELL LEWIS’s residence and a loaded Glock 23 handgun in WALKER’s possession. Agents also arrested DARRYL LEWIS again at 1320/1322 Frenchmen Street and found a black DPMS AR-15 rifle under his bed.
Court documents show that the conspiracy reached beyond the Seventh Ward. DARRELL LEWIS also used a home on Robert E. Lee Boulevard for selling heroin. Additionally, New Orleans dealers Nichiren Radcliffe, a/k/a “Lil’,” a/k/a “Taneshen Grandberry” and Conquistadore Martin, a/k/a “Melvin Moore,” a/k/a “Bob,” bought heroin from DARRELL LEWIS and occasionally supplied DARRELL LEWIS with heroin as well. Moreover, DARRELL LEWIS and MARTIN conspired along with MICHAEL MCQUITTY, a/k/a “Rooster,” a/k/a “Fat Mac,” and Nerimane Bouchama to rob a drug dealer in Columbia, Missouri. This robbery scheme eventually involved MARTIN, MCQUITTY and BOUCHAMA travelling to Missouri on a bus with at least one firearm, but FBI agents were able to defeat the plan when MARTIN and RADCLIFFE were detained in Missouri through the assistance of the St. Louis County Police Department.
The four defendants who pleaded guilty today were the last defendants pending in a twelve-defendant indictment that included narcotics and firearm-related charges. Other defendants who had already pleaded guilty in this case included NICHIREN RADCLIFFE, CONQUISTADORE MARTIN, MICHAEL MCQUITTY, NERIMANE BOUCHAMA, DEMOINDE ROWLEY, TYRONE HUDSON, and IRVIN WATSON.
DARRELL LEWIS, KEVIN WALKER, CARL LEWIS, and STERLING PIPKINS will be sentenced on May 18, 2017 by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier. PIPKINS was previously convicted of possession of a firearm as a felon in the United States District Court in October 2008, and he was on federal supervised release when he was arrested in this case in December 2014. He faces a revocation hearing before United States District Judge Lance M. Africk on April 20, 2017
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the FBI New Orleans Field Office. Assistance was provided by the DEA New Orleans Field Division, the New Orleans Police Department, the Major Crimes Task Force, the FBI Kansas City Division (Jefferson City Resident Office), and the St. Louis County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Payne, Shirin Hakimzadeh, and Andre Lagarde are in charge of the prosecution.