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Justice News

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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Desperado's Co-owner, Wife, Plead Guilty To Racketeering Conspiracy Charge

LAFAYETTE, La. –United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that James Panos, 56, and wife Jennifer Panos, 48, of Broussard, La., entered guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna to one count of racketeering conspiracy at the now closed Desperado’s Cabaret in Carencro, La. This plea is conditional and does not become final until it is accepted by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote.

James Panos and Jennifer Panos are the last two defendants in a 10-count indictment to plead guilty. They were charged on May 15, 2013, in an indictment alleging racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, and firearms charges.  The charges are the result of an investigation of drug trafficking, drug distribution, prostitution, and other illegal activity that took place at Desperado’s Cabaret in Carencro located on Northeast Evangeline Thruway.

James Panos and Jennifer Panos face 20 years in prison, a fine of not more than twice the gross profits or other proceeds, and three years of supervised release for one count of racketeering conspiracy.  As part of the plea agreement, they agreed to forfeit illegal proceeds already seized and to forfeit the Desperado’s property.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Louisiana State Police, and Lafayette Metro Narcotics investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Myers P. Namie and Daniel J. McCoy prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2015