N.O. Man Sentenced for Conspiracies to Commit Arson, Traffick Heroin and Possess Firearms
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that LARRY MOSES, age 33, of New Orleans, was sentenced yesterday after having previously pled guilty to four counts of conspiring to commit arson and, in fact, committing arson. MOSES also previously pled guilty to one count of conspiring to traffick a quantity of heroin as well as one count of conspiring to use and possess firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan sentenced MOSES to 150 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a $600 special assessment.
According to court records, during May and June of 2010, MOSES approached co-defendant LENNIE BROWN and offered him $1,500 to commit arson at the convenience store connected with the Fuel Zone gas station located on Chef Menteur Highway. On June 5, 2010, MOSES and BROWN drove together to a nearby gas station to purchase gasoline which was subsequently poured into a plastic bottle. MOSES and BROWN then drove directly to the Fuel Zone gas station. BROWN exited the vehicle, entered the convenience store, squired the gasoline onto the contents of the shelves and, using a lighter given to him by MOSES, lit the gasoline he had just squired onto the shelves. As the shelves ignited in fire, BROWN fled the store and was driven away from the scene by MOSES. The Fuel Zone convenience store suffered approximately $5,000 worth of damage due to this arson.
Shortly after the June 5, 2010 arson, MOSES informed BROWN that not enough damage had been done to the convenience store and that BROWN would not be paid until an additional arson was carried out and more substantial damage was incurred. BROWN subsequently approached co-defendant MICHAEL COLLINS and asked COLLINS if he was interested in committing an arson at the store in exchange for payment of $500. COLLINS agreed. BROWN then contacted MOSES and informed him that COLLINS had agreed to perform an arson at the store. MOSES then specifically instructed BROWN that the store should be damaged by means of fire and that the fire should be started near the cash register area of the store.
On the evening of June 21, 2010, BROWN and COLLINS drove to a nearby gas station and purchased gasoline and three glass bottles. Using the gas and the bottles, BROWN and COLLINS proceeded to make three “Molotov Cocktails,” using a torn t-shirt as the wick. At approximately 1:00 a.m., BROWN and COLLINS then drove to the Fuel Zone gas station where COLLINS entered the store and proceeded to light and throw the three Molotov Cocktails in the area behind the cash register area. The store cashier shot COLLINS in the leg as COLLINS was throwing the Molotov Cocktails. BROWN fled the scene in the car and COLLINS was taken to University Hospital and arrested. Phone records showed numerous phone calls between BROWN and MOSES while the June 22, 2010 arson was taking place.
Court records also show that on December 21, 2009, MOSES and co-defendant STANLEY BERNIARD were stopped by New Orleans Police Department officers for a traffic violation. During this traffic stop, officers observed a firearm in plain view on the backseat of the vehicle. The officers then searched the vehicle and found three additional firearms. Subsequently, on December 24, 2009, New Orleans Police Department officers executed another vehicle stop on MOSES and BERNIARD for a traffic violation. As BERNIARD exited the vehicle, he informed the officers that he was armed. MOSES was found to be in possession of a firearm as well. During a subsequent K-9 search of the vehicle, 40 foils of heroin (totaling 9 grams) were found in the vehicle’s headliner. Officers also confiscated $2,392 of United States currency from BERNIARD.
BROWN pled guilty and was sentenced to 60 months incarceration, 3 years of supervised release, and a $600 special assessment. COLLINS was sentenced to 140 months incarceration, 3 years of supervised release, and a $600 special assessment. All defendants are liable for restitution in the amount of $331,365.87.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as the New Orleans Fire Department and the New Orleans Police Department in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Rick Veters was in charge of the prosecution.