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Press Release

New Orleans Resident Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Distribute Illegal Narcotics and to Providing a Co-Defendant With a Loaded AK-47 Found in a Mercedes During a Traffic Stop

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

NEW ORLEANS, LA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that LIONEL COOLEY, age 45, a resident of Slidell, Louisiana, pled guilty to conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 28 grams or more of crack and to providing an AK-47 firearm to codefendant Blake Monroe that was used to facilitate crack sales.

COOLEY is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of five (5) years up to forty (40) years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000,000, at least four (4) years of supervised release upon his release from prison, and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee for the drug distribution offense, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 846. COOLEY also faces a maximum sentence of twenty (20) years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, up to three (3) years of supervised release from prison, and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee for the firearm offense, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(o).

According to court records, COOLEY and four others, Joseph Brown, Kendrick Demourelle, Kevin Gray, and Blake Monroe, conspired to sell illegal narcotics in New Orleans, including using a broken-down yellow school bus in the ‘Goose’ neighborhood in New Orleans East as a stash house. All five were indicted in February 2020, and, according to court records, a seized GMC Sierra pickup truck used by a member of this conspiracy contained nearly two kilograms of cocaine and 430 grams of crack.

During a December 11, 2019 traffic stop, New Orleans Police Department Officers also observed in plain sight a loaded AK-47, with the selector switch in the fire position, on the back floor of a white Mercedes driven by Blake Monroe. COOLEY had given Monroe this AK-47 so Monroe could sell crack cocaine.

U.S. District Judge Wendy Vitter will sentence COOLEY on February 1, 2022 at 2pm. COOLEY, Brown, Demourelle, Gray, and Monroe were charged in February 2020 with conspiring to distribute cocaine, crack, and heroin in the New Orleans area.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Hammond Police Department, New Orleans Police Department, and Slidell Police Department in investigating this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney David Howard Sinkman is in charge of the prosecution. 

Updated October 28, 2021

Drug Trafficking