Two More Pensacola Residents Charged in Multi-State Conspiracy
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Joseph F. Booker Jr., 28, and Kaishawndra Lyons, 25, both of Pensacola, along with the previously charged defendants Uy Nguyen, 34, of Vallejo, California, and Aaron M. Booker, 26, of Pensacola, were arraigned today in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola after a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment. Nguyen and the Booker brothers are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. All defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. In addition to the money laundering conspiracy, Lyons is also charged with making false statements. The indictment was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The indictment alleges that, between February 2015 and December 2017, Nguyen and the Booker brothers conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. The indictment also alleges that during the same time period, they, along with Lyons, conspired to launder money by transferring cash proceeds and purchasing precious metals and stones from funds of the drug trafficking conspiracy. The indictment also alleges that, in November 2016, Lyons knowingly made false statements that the currency she had deposited in out-of-state bank accounts was money she earned from doing hair and sewing.
The indictment also seeks forfeiture of approximately $338,641 in U.S. currency; a firearm and ammunition; a cellular telephone; more than a dozen pieces of jewelry; and approximately 35 pieces of designer clothing and accessories.
The trial is scheduled for May 14, 2018, at 8:00 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola.
If convicted, the defendants face 10 years to life in prison for the drug trafficking conspiracy and a maximum of 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy. If convicted of the false statements charge, Lyons faces a maximum of 5 years in prison.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Pensacola Police Department, the State Attorney’s Office – First Judicial Circuit, the U.S. Marshals, and the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg is prosecuting the case.
This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.