A Leader of Harvey Hustlers Gang Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that HARRY SMOOT, age 29, of Avondale, was sentenced today to life in federal prison by United States District Judge Lance M. Africk.
SMOOT pled guilty to being the leader and source of supply for a twelve member offshoot of the larger Harvey Hustlers group that was involved in the distribution of heroin and crack cocaine, as well as a conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. As part of his plea, SMOOT admitted to his role in three murders, including a vicious double murder of a couple whose children, who were unharmed, were in the backseat of their vehicle when the shooting occurred and a seventy-four year old woman whose grandson was the target of the attack. During the sentencing hearing today, family members of the victims had the opportunity to address SMOOT about the pain that the loss of the victims had caused to them and their families. After hearing the testimony and overruling SMOOT’s arguments that the murders were not premeditated, Judge Africk sentenced SMOOT to serve the rest of his life in federal prison, emphasizing that in the federal system there is no parole. SMOOT was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims’ families.
Several members of SMOOT’s drug trafficking organization, including three other individuals who have collected admitted responsibility for four murders, are to be sentenced in the coming weeks.
“Today’s sentencing ensures that a violent murderer and drug trafficker will remain off of our streets for the rest of his life,” stated U.S. Attorney Polite.
This case is a product of an ongoing investigation into the violent acts in furtherance of the drug trafficking by the Harvey Hustler gang and its various offshoots on the West Bank. It represents the continued coordinated effort of the federal and state law enforcement authorities within the Multi-Agency Gang (“MAG”), including the United States Attorney’s Office, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office, Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and officers of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorneys Greg Kennedy, David Haller, and Myles Ranier and Special Assistant United States Attorney Collin Sims, who is a former Assistant United States Attorney and the Criminal Chief at the St. Tammany Parish District Attorney’s Office, were in charge of the prosecution.