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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 20, 2018

Drug Traffickers Sentenced to Federal Prison

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced the sentencings of three individuals involved in a drug trafficking network based and operating in Baton Rouge.  The Indictment filed in this matter charged drug trafficking offenses involving marijuana, as well as the possession of a firearm during and in relation to a narcotics trafficking offense.

On August 20, 2018, U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk sentenced DEARIEUS DUHEART, age 34, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to 24 months in federal prison following his conviction for possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute.  The federal sentence will be served consecutive to a pending, state parole revocation proceeding.

On December 20, 2016, Derrick Keelen was present at 4535 McClelland Court in Baton Rouge.  That day, BRPD officers arrived at the residence to investigate an anonymous complaint of suspicious activity at the residence.  Upon arrival at the house, officers observed that the home’s windows were covered in tinting, preventing outsiders from observing the interior of the residence.  When approaching the carport door of the home, officers could smell raw marijuana.  Officers knocked on the door and identified themselves.  After a brief delay, Derrick Keelen opened the door, whereupon officers were overpowered by the smell of marijuana.  Once the door was opened, officers could see raw marijuana on a nearby table.  Upon officer’s request, the defendant Derrick Keelen allowed officers into the home.  On entering, officers saw marijuana, scales, a firearm and drug paraphernalia. The marijuana, drug-packaging material, and a firearm were in plain view on the coffee table located in the living room. 

Upon further search of the home, BRPD officers found 248 total grams of marijuana, approximately 3.3 total grams of cocaine, three digital scales, several cellular phones, one container of codeine/promethazine, and a Taurus .45 caliber semi-automatic firearm.  A judicially authorized search of a vehicle parked at the residence, belonging to Jornell Keelen, revealed $24,319 and .2g of heroin in an Audi A8 sedan.

On June 25, 2018, U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk sentenced DERRICK KEELEN, age 28, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to 60 months in federal prison following his convictions for possessing with the intent to distribute marijuana and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.    

On March 5, 2018, U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk sentenced JORNELL KEELEN, age 24, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to 60 months in federal prison following his conviction possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime

U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “This is yet another step towards our goal of making our communities safer. We will continue to pursue those who deal illegal drugs and create dangerous situations for our communities. I am proud of the efforts of the ATF, BRPD and our prosecutors who handled this important matter.”

ATF Resident Agent-in-Charge Antonio L. Pittman stated, “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with our law enforcement partners continue to serve our communities by focusing our efforts on removing armed violent felons from our streets.  I am proud of the work we are conducting in conjunction with our community. We will continue to work diligently to protect our citizens by presenting relevant investigative work to our Middle District of Louisiana US Attorney’s Office for federal prosecution.”

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Baton Rouge City Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Cal Leipold and Rene Salomon.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated August 20, 2018