Member of Large Drug Trafficking Network Pleads Guilty in Federal Court
United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today the conviction of an additional individual charged in Operation Hidden Fee in connection with an extensive federal, state, and local investigation by the Middle District Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) aimed at a drug trafficking network based and operating in Baton Rouge. The Indictment filed in this matter charged significant drug trafficking offenses involving heroin, methamphetamine, and crack cocaine, as well as several firearm offenses.
On March 13, 2019, HENRY J. HAYES, age 42, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, appeared before U.S. Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick and pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, distribution of heroin and crack cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Beginning in January 2017 and continuing through July 2017, law enforcement agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration were investigating the drug trafficking activities of James Christian Hull. During the course of this investigation, federal agents identified HAYES as one of Hull's suppliers who furnished Hull with multi-ounce quantities of heroin and crack cocaine on a weekly basis. They sometimes met at locations near Drusilla Dr. in Baton Rouge, where HAYES supplied Hull with ounce amounts of heroin and crack cocaine, which Hull distributed to associates and customers.
On June 13, 2017, during the execution of a search warrant, agents found a number of firearms, large amounts of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine, and approximately $138,293 in cash at HAYES’ residence in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
HAYES was previously convicted in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, for possession of ecstasy and sentenced to serve 2.5 years prison.
On July 10, 2018, James C. Hull pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin, methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and heroin, and four counts of unlawful use of communications facility. As part of the plea, Hull admitted to being the head of a narcotics distribution ring involving 21 subordinate drug dealers who operated throughout the Baton Rouge area.
U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “The conviction of another member of this drug gang demonstrates the success that can be realized by cooperation of federal, state, and local law enforcement. I want to thank our prosecutors and all of the law enforcement agencies involved in this prosecution.”
“This investigation highlights the impact multiple agencies can have when they join forces. We will continue to work together with our local law enforcement partners and pursue those who threaten our communities through their criminal activities. The successful prosecution of this individual should put others who engage in this type of activity on notice,” said Brad L. Byerley, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New Orleans Field Division.
The investigation is yet another effort by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (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 and 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 ongoing investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration with invaluable assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Baton Rouge City Police Department, and the Louisiana State Police. Other agencies also assisted in apprehending the defendant, including the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the Sheriffs’ Offices in Ascension, Iberville, and West Baton Rouge Parishes.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Piedrahita and Lyman Thornton, III.