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Press Release

Jackson Woman Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Drug Trafficking Proceeds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Jackson, Miss. – Erika Shanta Kelly, 42, of Jackson, pled guilty yesterday before Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III to laundering proceeds from drug trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Jere T. Miles, Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans.

On April 22, 2014, March 3, 2015, and September 4, 2015, Kelly used money obtained from drug trafficking to purchase and make payments on vehicles. The purchases and payments made were to conceal or disguise the nature, source, ownership and control of the drug trafficking money. On November 28, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Kelly for conspiracy to money launder and using proceeds from drug trafficking to purchase vehicles for another person.

Kelly will be sentenced by Judge Jordan on March 8, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $500,000.

This case is the result of an extensive Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, dubbed AOperation Pipeline,@ which began as an operation targeting illegal narcotics distribution in central Mississippi involving cocaine and marijuana. The distribution network encompasses the States of California, Texas and Mississippi.

The OCDETF program 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 case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Jackson Police Department, and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin Chalk.

Updated November 27, 2018