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Press Release

Marrero Man Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to Cocaine Conspiracy

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

NEW ORLEANS –U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon sentenced, on May 14, 2020, ROBERT GAINES, age 37, of Marrero, Louisiana, to sixty (60) months’ imprisonment and four years’ supervised release after pleading guilty to a one-count superseding bill of information charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five hundred grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride and twenty-eight grams or more of cocaine base. 

According to court documents, in 2017, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Orleans identified Derris Helton as a cocaine trafficker in the New Orleans area, by using telephone wiretaps.  Through continued monitoring of telephone calls, agents identified GAINES as one of Helton’s drug trafficking associates.  During a monitored telephone call in July 2017, Helton and his brother Phillip discussed having GAINES supply an individual with a quantity of drugs.

On August 1, 2017, agents learned through monitored telephone calls between Helton and GAINES that Helton was travelling from Houston, Texas to New Orleans via bus with a large quantity of cocaine and GAINES was to pick him up from the bus terminal.  DEA agents and Louisiana State Police troopers stationed themselves at the Greyhound terminal in New Orleans awaiting Helton’s arrival.  When Helton arrived at the terminal and exited the bus, agents and troopers approached Helton.  After Helton consented to a search of his bag, agents found approximately 500 grams of cocaine hydrochloride in his bag.  Agents also located GAINES at the terminal.  When questioned by agents, GAINES told the agents that he dropped someone off at the terminal.

Derris Helton and Phillip Helton pleaded guilty on January 9, 2020.  Sentencing for both have been set for August 20, 2020.

U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Louisiana State Police in investigating this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney André Jones is in charge of the prosecution


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Updated May 15, 2020

Drug Trafficking