Final Member Of Gulf Coast Drug Trafficking Ring Sentenced To Lengthy Federal Prison Term
BATON ROUGE, LA – Acting United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson announced the fifth and final sentencing in a series of federal prosecutions aimed at a drug trafficking ring which operated in the Gulf Coast states. On Thursday, May 11, 2017, KENDALL LEWIS, age 27, of Lecanto, Florida, appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson and was sentenced to 90 months imprisonment.
LEWIS had previously pled guilty to conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. Previously, KAREEM McKINNON, age 25, of Crystal River, Florida, was convicted of the same offense, in August of 2016, after a multi-day jury trial, and ARTHUR WILLIAM ARMSTRONG, age 34, of Crystal River, Florida, pled guilty to the same offense. McKINNON was previously sentenced to serve 96 months in federal prison, and ARMSTRONG was sentenced to serve 84 months in federal prison.
The evidence at McKINNON’s trial established that ARMSTRONG, LEWIS and MCKINNON made multiple trips to the Houston, Texas area in early 2015, during which they would obtain distribution-level quantities of cocaine. The three co-conspirators used female co-consprators to drive the cocaine back to Florida, while ARMSTRONG, LEWIS and MCKINNON followed the car containing the cocaine back to Florida. The cocaine would then be distributed for profit in Florida. On February 9, 2015, after one such trip to Houston, the co-conspirators were arrested while driving through Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and found to be transporting more than 4 kilograms of cocaine back to Florida.
This matter was investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, with valuable assistance from the Baton Rouge Police Department and the Louisiana State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Adam Ptashkin and Robert Piedrahita.