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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Nine Members of Multi-State Drug Trafficking Network Plead Guilty

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today the convictions of nine individuals charged 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 in Ascension Parish and operating in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.  The indictment filed in this matter charged significant drug trafficking offenses involving cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. 

Last week, each of the following defendants appeared before Chief Judge Brian A. Jackson and pled guilty for their roles in the drug trafficking network:

  • Arthur Johnson, Jr., a.k.a. “Nelson Howard,” “Wood,” and “Dread,” age 42, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, CEO of “Ruff-n-Rugged Entertainment” in Geismar, Louisiana, pled guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, crack cocaine, and 100 grams or more of heroin, and 16 counts of unlawful use of a communication facility.
  • Lorenza Benitez Alday, a.k.a. “Old Woman,” “Old Lady,” and “Old Girl,” age 52, of Gonzales, Louisiana, pled guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 5 counts of unlawful use of a communication facility.
  • Tom Christmas III, a.k.a. “Bald Head” and “Tom Jr.,” age 42, of Geismar, Louisiana, pled guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, crack cocaine, and 100 grams or more of heroin and 4 counts of unlawful use of a communication facility.
  • Rodolfo De La Cruz Alday, age 45, of Gonzales, Louisiana, pled guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
  • Norberto Aaron Bejarano, age 31, of Houston, Texas, pled guilty to 1 count of distribution of 500 grams or more of cocaine.
  • Reginald Jackson, a.k.a. “Lemonhead,” age 45, of Geismar, Louisiana, pled guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and 28 grams or more of crack cocaine.
  • Ramsey Everett, a.k.a. “Ram,” age 31, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pled guilty to 1 count of misprision of a felony drug offense.
  • Stephen Keys, a.k.a. “Bad Ass,” age 33, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pled guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. 
  • Sigmund Lewis, a.k.a. “Sig,” age 42, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pled guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

As a result of their guilty pleas, each defendant faces a significant term of imprisonment, fines, and the forfeiture of proceeds from their illegal activity.

According to documents filed in connection with the guilty pleas, Arthur Johnson was the organizer and leader of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for the distribution of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin in and around Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Ascension Parish, Louisiana.  Tom Christmas was Johnson’s second-in-command, supervising the criminal enterprise’s daily activities and collecting proceeds from the illegal sale of drugs by lower-level members of the DTO, including Jackson, Keys, Lewis, and Ramsey.  Norberto Bejarano, and other couriers, transported cocaine from Texas to the Aldays’ residence in Gonzales, Louisiana.  Lorenza and Rodolfo Alday thereafter supplied cocaine to Johnson for further distribution in and around Ascension Parish and Hattiesburg. 

U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “Our goal is to make our communities safe – taking multi kilo level drug dealers and their cronies off the street does just that.  Our office will continue to aggressively pursue drug traffickers using all legal means available.  I commend the FBI, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, and all of the other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies who contributed to this important matter.”

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; the FBI Baton Rouge Capitol Area Gang Task Force, which is an FBI Safe Street Task Force that includes the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and Baton Rouge Police Department; the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office; the FBI Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Resident Agency; and the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Police Department. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jamie A. Flowers, Jr.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated June 19, 2018