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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Baton Rouge Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Court in Connection with Mexican-Based Drug Trafficking Organization

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced that Jaime Gabriel Grimaldi Pena, a.k.a. “Eric” and “Gabriel,” age 44, of Baton Rouge, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and heroin.  As a result of his guilty plea, Pena faces a significant term of imprisonment, fines, and forfeiture of the property involved or used in, or derived from, his illegal activity.

Pena was charged in connection with an extensive federal, state, and local investigation by the Middle District’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) aimed at a Mexican-based Drug Trafficking Organization (“DTO”) responsible for the distribution of cocaine and heroin from Mexico to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and other locations throughout the United States.

According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, Pena admitted that from at least July 2017 to March 2018, he was the Baton Rouge point of drug distribution for a DTO that was responsible for the distribution of cocaine and heroin from Mexico throughout the United States.  Pena also worked as a mechanic for vehicles utilized by the DTO to transport illegal drugs by installing hidden compartments used to hide drugs and drug proceeds in transport vehicles and installing tracking devices on said vehicles.   

U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “This plea demonstrates our on-going commitment to bring justice to those who show blatant disregard for the health and safety of our people by peddling poison in our communities.  I am grateful to our prosecutor and the FBI for their outstanding efforts in the investigation and prosecution of this defendant.” 

“Opioid and heroin addiction does not discriminate because of race, religion, ethnicity, or socio economic status.  Drug addiction is an epidemic that is plaguing the streets of Baton Rouge and across America,” stated Special Agent in Charge Bryan Vorndran.  “Today justice was served to those who chose to traffic and distribute these illicit narcotics on our streets.  The FBI will continue to enforce the laws and intervene when drug traffickers terrorize communities.”

This investigation is another effort by the OCDETF Program, which was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack against organized drug traffickers.  Today, the OCDETF Program is the centerpiece of the United States Attorney General’s drug strategy to reduce the availability of drugs by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, money laundering organizations, and related criminal enterprises.  The OCDETF Program operates nationwide and combines the resources and unique expertise of numerous federal, state, and local agencies in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.

This OCDETF operation is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the FBI Baton Rouge Capitol Area Gang Task Force.  This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jamie Flowers, Jr.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated September 25, 2019