Second Member of Valley Street Drug Trafficking Network Pleads Guilty
United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today the convictions of two individuals charged in connection with an investigation by the Middle District of Louisiana, Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”), aimed at a drug trafficking and dogfighting network based in Baton Rouge and operating in Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi. The Superseding Indictment and Bill of Information filed in this matter charged drug trafficking offenses involving cocaine, marijuana and heroin as well violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act.
On July 17, 2018, Marco Murphy, a.k.a. “Big Daddy”, age 34, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, appeared before Judge Shelly Dick and pled guilty to his role in the drug trafficking network. Murphy pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, 28 grams of cocaine and 28 grams of marijuana, and one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
On July 2, 2018, Eric Lashawn Williams, a.k.a. “E” and “EZ”, age 35, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, 46 grams of heroin, 285 grams of cocaine and 28 grams of marijuana, one count of the unlawful use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. WILLIAMS also pled guilty to a Bill of Information charging him with violating the Federal Animal Welfare Act by possession of animals in animal fighting ventures.
Because 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, WILLIAMS was the organizer and leader of a drug trafficking organization (“DTO”) which was responsible for the distribution of cocaine, marijuana and heroin in the Valley Park neighborhood of Baton Rouge. MURPHY was a member of the DTO who distributed narcotics for the organization.
During the investigation into WILLIAMS’ drug trafficking organization, law enforcement agents became aware that WILLIAMS was also involved in an illegal dogfighting operation. The FBI Baton Rouge Capitol Area Gang Task Force intercepted WILLIAMS’s telephone conversations discussing the results of dogfights in Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia, arranging future dogfights, wagers on upcoming dogfights, as well as the breeding, sale, and training of dogs for fighting.
On August 24, 2017, law enforcement agents conducted a search at two residences in Baton Rouge and seized 13 pit bull dogs. The dogs belonged to WILLIAMS, and were related to his multi-state dog-fighting activities.
U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “Ridding the Valley Park neighborhood of these defendants who sold illegal drugs and used the proceeds to train and illegally fight animals for profit and their entertainment is an important step in my office’s goal of aggressive enforcement of federal laws, be it illegal drugs, guns or dogfighting.”
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 and the FBI Baton Rouge Capitol Area Gang Task Force. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lyman E. Thornton III.