California Man Convicted Of Conspiracy To Distribute Heroin In Operation Goldy Locks
BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced yet another conviction arising from Operation Goldy Locks, an extensive investigation into a multi-state heroin enterprise.
EFRAIN BARAJAS, age 27, of Hesperia, California, pled guilty yesterday to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 846, as contained in an Indictment filed in October 2015. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court accepted BARAJAS’ guilty plea, returned him to the custody of the United States Marshal, and scheduled the sentencing hearing for October 13, 2016.
During his guilty plea hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, BARAJAS admitted the following facts. Between January 1, 2014, and February 18, 2015, BARAJAS conspired with individuals in California and Louisiana to distribute thousands of pills pressed to resemble oxycodone that, in fact, contained heroin. Upon delivery of the pills to Baton Rouge from California, they were then distributed to mid-level drug dealers and drug abusers in East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes. BARAJAS admitted that during the period of the conspiracy, he transported over 30,000 pills containing heroin from California to Baton Rouge and delivered the pills to a significant heroin trafficker in Baton Rouge for further distribution. Barajas then transported significant sums of cash as payment for the heroin to a major heroin trafficker in California. BARAJAS was identified as part of a substantial heroin-trafficking and money-laundering conspiracy investigation that resulted in the indictment of BARAJAS and 10 other defendants.
U.S. Attorney Green stated: “My office, together with the DEA and our other federal, state, and local partners, will continue to aggressively pursue those responsible for distributing heroin and other dangerous drugs on our streets and in our neighborhoods. We should not be fooled about the impact of such crimes. The consequences are not only devastating to our communities generally, they are increasingly deadly.”
Stephen G. Azzam, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New Orleans Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stated: “Heroin has become an epidemic in the greater Baton Rouge area and DEA is attacking the criminals who prey on the weak and addicted through their drug trafficking. This investigation targeted a pill form of heroin disguised as oxycodone. This type of heroin, as well as heroin laced with fentanyl, is growing in popularity across the country. As a result, the number of overdoses from this deadly drug is growing nationally, too. Because of persistent and collaborative efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies in the area, a major supplier of heroin to this region of Louisiana is out of business.”
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the Louisiana State Police, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Baton Rouge Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul L. Pugliese.