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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 12, 2017

Violent Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison Arising from Massive Operation by the Middle District Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Task Force

BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced another significant prison sentence resulting from a federal grand jury indictment against 38 individuals in Operation Third World, a long-running investigation by the Middle District Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Task Force (OCDETF) aimed at dismantling a notoriously violent drug trafficking network operating in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.

 

Yesterday, Myron Chevelle Hart, age 39, of Baker, Louisiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick to serve 262 months (21 years) in prison and ordered to forfeit $199,441 as proceeds of his offenses. In addition, Hart was sentenced to 48 months for violating the terms of his federal supervised release which resulted from his 2007 federal drug and firearm convictions. The defendant will not be eligible for parole since the federal system has abolished parole.

 

A federal grand jury indicted Hart and 38 others with various narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses related to their involvement in a violent drug trafficking organization. The indictment includes significant drug trafficking, racketeering, firearm, and conspiracy charges, including allegations of a murder plot, threats to use a hatchet to cut off fingers, and using a child to help transport 18 kilograms of cocaine. To date, 34 of the defendants have been convicted and one has died. The remaining 4 defendants are set for trial. When the defendants were arrested pursuant to the indictment, agents seized cocaine, a stolen AR-15, a shotgun, three handguns, and over $113,000 in cash believed to be drug proceeds. Previously during the investigation, agents seized 6 firearms and over $150,000 in cash as part of this operation.

 

Hart plead guilty on November 10, 2016, admitting that beginning in early 2013, he conspired with Kelly D. Williams, Charles C. London, C’Prien Nicholas, Sylvester Smith, Artey Foulcard and others to obtain and distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine and crack cocaine for profit in and around Baton Rouge.

 

In addition to distributing cocaine and crack cocaine, Hart’s role in the organization was that of an enforcer, using violence and threats of violence to advance their aims. As an example, court-authorized wiretaps captured several phone calls during which Hart and a coconspirator planned to rob and kill someone because that person had talked negatively about them. During another conversation, Hart even bragged to different coconspirator that he should watch the news the following morning because the killing will be a story. After learning of the plan, law enforcement intervened, preventing the plan from being carried out.

 

The following defendants have previously been sentenced:

 

  • Charles C. London, age 40, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on September 8, 2016 to 26.6-years imprisonment.

  • Sylvester S. Smith, age 37, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced on May 19, 2016 to 18-years imprisonment.

     

  • Donald Sanders, Jr., age 39, of Gonzales, Louisiana, was sentenced on November 3, 2016 to 7-years imprisonment.

     

  • Derrick D. Hilliard, age 39, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on June 23, 2016 to 5-years imprisonment.

     

  • Willie C. Lewis, age 38, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on May 19, 2016 to 9-years imprisonment.

     

  • Sekari Davis Washington, age 38, of Zachary, Louisiana, was sentenced on June 30, 2016 to 1-year imprisonment.

     

  • Clarence White, age 52, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on November 10, 2016 to 4.5-years imprisonment.

     

  • Vernon A. Powell, age 35, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on January 12, 2017 to 8-years imprisonment.

     

  • Devon D. Foster, age 37, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on May 5, 2016 to 9-years imprisonment.

     

  • Eric O’Neal Selders, age 44, of Independence, Louisiana, was sentenced on September 29, 2016 to 13.75-years imprisonment.

     

  • James Edward Allen, age 33, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on March 24, 2016 to 3-years imprisonment.

     

  • Dwan M. Delavallade, age 39, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on December 1, 2016 to 5.8-years imprisonment.

     

  • Kelvin Ronelle Johnson, age 38, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on August 4, 2016 to 5.8-years imprisonment.

  • Gerry Earl Griffin, age 45, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on June 16, 2016 to 1-year imprisonment.

     

  • Gregory C. Walker, age 53, of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, was sentenced on July 28, 2016 to 5.8-years imprisonment.

     

  • Jeremy James Washington, age 37, of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, was sentenced on December 19, 2016 to 5-years imprisonment.

     

  • Myron Derell Mills, age 36, of Gonzales, Louisiana, was sentenced on April 7, 2016 to

    15.2-years imprisonment.

     

  • Ashley H. Hebert, age 27, of Thibodaux, Louisiana, was sentenced on June 16, 2016 to 2-years imprisonment.

     

  • Keeyon Mondrell Sanders, age 34, was sentenced on September 29, 2016 to 2-years imprisonment.

     

U.S. Attorney Green stated: “Today’s severe sentence is a product of the tremendous efforts of the many federal, state, and local law enforcement agents, who, together with prosecutors in my office, worked seamlessly and tirelessly to put this violent group of thugs out of business. Together, we will continue to aggressively bring the fight to those who threaten the peace, safety, and security of our communities through violence and drug trafficking.”

 

DEA Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Brad L. Byerley stated: “The arrests and convictions made in this investigation are part of DEA’s continuing effort to target the distribution of dangerous drugs at all levels. Illicit drug abuse and related criminal activity take a tremendous toll on our communities, including those in Baton Rouge. We will continue to work closely with our state and local law enforcement partners in order to enhance the quality of life for the citizens in this region.”

 

This operation is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Baton Rouge City Police Department, the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police, the Iberville Parish Sherriff’s Office, the Livingston Parish Sherriff’s Office, the Gonzales Police Department, and the Baker Police Department.

 

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Kleinpeter and Adam Ptashkin.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated January 12, 2017