Two Men Plead Guilty to Federal Firearm and Drug Trafficking Charges Stemming from Their Participation in a Winter Shootout at a New Orleans Hotel
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today, that CHRIS ROSS, age 20 from Slidell and TREJON HOWARD, age 20 from New Orleans pled guilty on September 22, 2021 to various firearm and drug charges. Their guilty pleas stem from participation in a December 28, 2020 shootout on the 15th floor of the Jung Hotel on Canal Street.
Earlier this year the federal Grand Jury handed down two related Indictments charging a total of seven individuals with various violations of the Federal Gun Control Act and Federal Controlled Substances Act. ROSS and HOWARD are the first of the defendants to plead guilty in connection with these cases. Both ROSS and HOWARD pled guilty to Counts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Indictment pending against them.
In their the five (5) count Indictment, the grand jury charged ROSS, Tiquan EVERSON, HOWARD, and Blake BATISTE. Count 1 charged each with conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and a crime of violence, in Violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(o). Count 2 charged each with attempting to commit a Hobbs Act Robbery, in violation of Title 18, United Stated Code, Section 1951. Count 3 charged each with carrying and discharging firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(iii). Count 4 charged each with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(1)(D). Count 5 charged EVERSON with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1).
Counts 1 and 2 carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000.00 fine, and up to 3 years supervised release. Count 3 carries a consecutive sentence of 10 years to life in prison, a $250,000.00 fine, and up to 5 years supervised release. Count 4 carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000.00 fine, and at least 2 years supervised release. Count 5 carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000.00 fine, and up to 3 years supervised release. Both ROSS and HOWARD, individually, must pay a mandatory $100 special assessment fee for each count.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
The case was investigated by the New Orleans Police Department and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorneys Maurice Landrieu and Elizabeth Privitera are in charge of the prosecution.
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