Month: February 2016

Harvey Hustler defendant sentenced to 15 years in prison

A Harvey man with ties to West Jefferson’s Harvey Hustlers street gang was sentenced Monday (Feb. 29) to 15 years in prison.

Keitrel B. Gumms, 25, pleaded guilty on Jan. 13 to racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to distribute heroin and marijuana, distribution of marijuana and cruelty to juveniles. Although he pleaded guilty as charged last month, his sentencing hearing was delayed until Monday.

Gumms was sentenced to 15 years in prison for each count except for the cruelty to juveniles offense, for which he received a 10-year sentence. Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court ran the sentences concurrently, for a total of 15 years.

Gumms was one of 21 people named in a 30-count indictment prosecutors filed in court last year. Of them, 19 pleaded guilty and the remaining two were convicted of the racketeering-related offenses during their trials. Their sentences ranged from five years to 120 years in prison.

Click here to view the 21 defendants.

The Harvey Hustlers, which traces its roots to the Scotsdale neighborhood in the 1980s, was responsible for trafficking as much as 20 kilograms of cocaine into the West Bank from Texas monthly. The gang also had an enforcement arm called the “Murder Squad,” which used violence to protect its illegal narcotics enterprise.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office collaborated on the cases. The investigation and prosecutions are ongoing in state and federal courts.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Seth Shute prosecuted the cases.

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Convicted armed robber sentenced to 60 years in prison

A Harvey man who was convicted last week of six armed robberies was sentenced Thursday (Feb. 25) to 60 years in prison.

Damion Savage, 42, was one of two masked gunmen who robbed four businesses in early 2011. No one was injured. He was charged with six counts of armed robbery, or one count for each of the six employees who were victimized during the spree.

After denying the defense request for a new trial Thursday, Judge Michael Mentz of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Savage to 55 years in prison on each of the six counts. The judge granted prosecutors their request to add five years to each sentence under the state’s firearm enhancement law, because Savaged used a pistol in the crimes. Mentz ran the sentences concurrently, for a total of 60 years.

Savage was convicted of robbing a Marrero Subway store on Barataria Boulevard twice, on Jan. 23, 2011 and on March 6, 2011. He robbed a Subway on Jefferson Highway in Old Jefferson on March 13, 2011, and a GameStop outlet on Promenade Boulevard in Marrero on March 24, 2011.

None of the victims was able to identify the gunmen. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives cracked the case after finding two Newport brand cigarette butts outside the Marrero and Old Jefferson Subways. On both butts, Sheriff’s Office DNA analysts found genetic material belonging Jonathan Isaac, prosecutors said.

The detectives linked Savage to Isaac through cellular phone records that showed the duo had extensive conversations around the time of the robberies, prosecutors said. Further, the detectives determined that the suspects were in the area of the robberies when they happened, by using records from cellular phone transmission towers.

When searching Savage’s Tensas Street apartment, the detectives found caps, a jacket and shoes that were identical to what one of the robbers wore, according to testimony. Savage confessed and was arrested, prosecutors said.

But during his trial, he testified his confession was both coerced and tainted because he was under the influence of heroin at the time. The jury found him guilty as charged on Feb. 19.

Savage is due back in Mentz’s court on May 17, for hearings on his pending charges of possession of heroin, hydrocodone and drug paraphernalia.

Isaac, 54, of Marrero, awaits trial on five counts of armed robbery. He’s accused of being Savage’s cohort in all but one of the Marrero Subway robberies.

Assistant District Attorneys Angel Varnado and Blair Constant prosecuted the case.

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Harvey man sentenced to 35 years in prison in Waggaman manslaughter case

A Harvey man who admitted he killed another man outside a Waggaman daiquiri shop five years ago was sentenced Wednesday (Feb. 23), to 35 years in prison.

Raheem Robinson, 23, shot Albert Bullock in the head early on the morning of Jan. 26, 2011, outside the business in the 8700 block of River Road. Bullock, 24, of Gretna, died at the scene.

Robinson pleaded guilty to manslaughter in November 2013. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and illegal discharge of a firearm, both in connection with Bullock’s death.

Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Robinson to 35 years for the manslaughter, 35 years for the conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and 20 years for the illegal discharge of a firearm. He ran the sentences concurrently.

Robinson is one of three people to be sent to prison in the Bullock homicide. Harry Smoot, 30, of Avondale, and Terrance J. Antoine, 34, of Harvey, pleaded guilty in 2013 to obstruction of justice in a homicide for removing Bullock’s gun from his body.

Smoot was sentenced to seven years in prison, and Antoine was sentenced to 15 years in prison, records show.

Last year, Robinson was sentenced to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to battery on a corrections officer. Separately, he’s serving a 13-year prison sentence for an armed robbery he committed in November 2011, to which he pleaded guilty in January 2012.

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Chalmette man pleads guilty to molesting 8-year-old girl

A Chalmette man averted his trial on charges he molested an 8-year-old girl on Tuesday (Feb. 23), pleading guilty as charged to three counts of sexual battery in exchange for a 2-year prison sentence.

Jose Castillo, 46, also must register as a sex offender for 25 years after his release from a state prison and faces a lifetime of supervision.

The victim, now 23, asserted Castillo molested her around 2000, but she delayed reporting the crime almost a decade. Castillo, a Honduras native who lived in Old Jefferson at the time of the crimes, was arrested Dec. 28, 2009 and was released two days later after posting a $100,000 bond, records show.

He has been free from incarceration since then. With his plea, Castillo was taken into custody to begin his prison sentence.

Jury selection was set to begin Tuesday morning when Castillo opted to plead guilty. Judge Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court accepted the plea and handed down the sentence.

At the time of the offense, the punishment for sexual battery of juveniles was up to 10 years in prison. The Louisiana Legislature since increased the sentence for that crime to 25 years to 99 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorneys Matt Clauss and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.

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Harvey man sentenced to 49 1/2 years in armed robbery and shooting

A Harvey man was sentenced to 49 ½ years in prison Tuesday (Feb. 23), after pleading guilty as charged to armed robbery and illegal discharge of a firearm.

Dernard Harris, 25, admitted he was the gunman who, at about 8:30 a.m., on July 3, 2014, robbed a construction worker in full view of his coworkers at a job site at Manhattan Boulevard and Elton Court.

The victim and a co-worker then followed Harris, who in turn charged at his pursuers and fired a round at them from a .380-caliber pistol. Harris then ran into a vacant apartment complex in the 1500 block of West Chelsea Road, where he tossed the pistol into a closet before leaping off a second-floor balcony.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies chased Harris to an apartment complex on Old Compton Road, where he forced his way into a unit. He ran through the apartment and then into the back door of a clothing cleaning business on Manhattan Boulevard, where deputies caught him as he was fleeing out of the front door.

Deputies recovered the pistol from the closet, and ballistics experts confirmed it matched the discarded bullet casing recovered at the shooting scene, prosecutors said.

Jury selection was set to begin Tuesday when Harris pleaded guilty to the charges. Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Harris to 49 ½ years in prison for the armed robbery and two years for the illegal discharge of a firearm offense. He ran the sentences concurrently.

Harris then pleaded guilty to being a second offender under Louisiana’s habitual offender law, in light of a 2011 conviction of accessory after the fact to armed robbery. Enright sentenced Harris to 49 ½ years in prison as a double offender.

Assistant District Attorneys Angad Ghai and Sloan Abernathy prosecuted the case.

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Harvey Hustlers gang investigators and prosecutors receive ‘excellence’ awards

 

Two Jefferson Parish prosecutors and their investigator who are part of the task force that dismantled the murderous Harvey Hustlers street gang on the West Bank were recognized Tuesday (Feb. 23), by the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Seth Shute and Capt. Kevin Smith were among the local and federal authorities to receive the commission’s 2016 Excellence in Law Enforcement Awards, presented annually to those who “contribute to making our community a better place to live, work and raise our families,” Rafael Goyeneche, the commission’s president and executive director, told a luncheon audience at the downtown New Orleans Sheraton.

A joint federal and local task force was born from the Harvey Hustler’s investigation, creating an unparalleled level of cooperation between federal and Jefferson Parish prosecutors, the FBI and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“Over the last twenty years, the level of cooperation between the District Attorney’s Office, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI has been exceptional,” said Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick, the parish’s top prosecutor for two decades.

“In investigating and prosecuting these cases, however, the quality of our cooperative work has gone to a whole new level, with everyone willingly and without reservation contributing enormous manpower and other resources needed to ensure we achieved the results our community deserved,” Connick said.

Between state and federal jurisdictions, the task force’s work led to 66 indictments, and the sentences gang affiliates received ranged from five years to life in prison, said Alan H. Philipson, the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s chairman.

During the five-year period ending in 2015, the active years in Harvey Hustler prosecutions, Jefferson Parish saw a 39-percent reduction in homicides, he said.

Originating in Harvey’s Scotsdale neighborhood, the Harvey Hustlers and its affiliated arms funneled about 20 kilograms of cocaine into West Jefferson from Texas monthly, distributing it and heroin and marijuana on area streets.

It’s “Murder Squad” was charged with protecting the gang’s illegal trade and was responsible for numerous homicides in the area. The gang’s death toll includes an 81-year-old Bridge City woman and a 58-year-old Marrero man, neither of whom were the intended targets.

Federal authorities, led by the FBI, began the investigation in 2009, leading the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans to begin obtaining indictments beginning in 2010. U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said his office assembled a “dream team of prosecutors” for the Harvey Hustlers case, and his office and Connick’s collaborated in which jurisdiction to prosecute to “give us the biggest bang for our buck.”

Of the cases that were not prosecuted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Louisiana, where several Harvey Hustlers have received life sentences for homicides, 26 defendants have been prosecuted in six cases filed in Jefferson Parish’s 24th Judicial District Court.

Those include 21 defendants who were charged in a 30-count racketeering indictment. In less than a year, two of them were convicted at trial, while the remainder pleaded guilty.

“To all of you, I extend my deepest appreciation for all the work you’ve done,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand told award recipients.

From the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, detectives Brad Roniger and Jeremiah Washington also received the Excellence in Law Enforcement Awards.

FBI Special Agents Todd Schliem, Christopher Stokes and ATF Special Agent Karen Evanoski were awarded accolades, as were the FBI’s Gabrella S. Kelly, Karen Reed.

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Duane Evans, David Haller, Greg Kennedy and Myles Ranier received the awards. Paralegal supervisor Ashley R. Rohde was recognized. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Collin Sims, a former federal prosecutor who now oversees felony prosecutions in St. Tammany Parish, also was involved in the Harvey Hustlers cases.

The Metropolitan Crime Commission awarded its 2016 "Excellence in Law Enforcement Awards" to members of the task for that investigated and prosecuted the Harvey Hustlers gang. (JPDA photo)
The Metropolitan Crime Commission awarded its 2016 “Excellence in Law Enforcement Awards” to members of the task for that investigated and prosecuted the Harvey Hustlers gang. (JPDA photo)
Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr., left, speaks with New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, center, and investigator Capt. Kevin Smith during the 2016 Metropolitan Crime Commission awards ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 23. (JPDA photo)
Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr., left, speaks with New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, center, and investigator Capt. Kevin Smith during the 2016 Metropolitan Crime Commission awards ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 23. (JPDA photo)

 

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Teenager pleads guilty to battery, escape at Bridge City juvenile center

An 18-year-old inmate at the Bridge City Center for Youth pleaded guilty Monday (Feb. 22), to attacking a correctional officer and escaping his dormitory.

Wilnor Chaney Jr., was sentenced to one year in prison followed by five years of probation, in connection with the Aug. 5, 2015, crime at the River Road facility where adjudicated juveniles are confined.

He pleaded guilty as charged to adult charges of battery on a corrections officer and simple escape. He was scheduled to stand trial this week for the offenses.

Chaney admitted he grabbed the correctional officer in a bear hug and threw him to the ground before taking the officer’s security keys, according to the arrest report. Chaney then was able to unlock the rear door to the Perseverance Dorm, where he was confined, and escape onto the grounds at the facility.

A corrections officer monitoring a security camera saw Chaney near the facility’s back gate, triggering a search for the escapee, according to the report. He was captured shortly after near the Main School Building, having never left the center’s grounds.

Judge Ellen Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court, who presided over the case, sentenced Chaney to one year in prison for the battery charge. She suspended a three-year prison sentence for the simple escape charge and ordered three years of active probation, followed by two years of inactive probation. She ran the sentences consecutively.

Assistant District Attorney Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.

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Discarded cigarette butts and DNA lead to armed robbery conviction

It was the cigarette butts the detectives found at two seemingly unrelated crime scenes that gave the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office its break five years ago. Two masked gunmen went on a robbery spree, targeting businesses on both sides of the Mississippi River.

Sheriff’s Office DNA analysts found the genetic material of their first suspect on both of the Newport butts, Jonathan Isaac, prosecutors said. The detectives, Lt. Dax Russo and Wayne Rumore, searched Isaac’s cellular phone history, finding as many as 19 calls in one day around the time of the robberies with their second suspect, Damion Savage of Harvey.

Savage denied involvement until the detectives found in his Tensas Street apartment two caps, a jacket and shoes that were identical to those worn by one of the armed robbers. The detectives showed Savage images they obtained from the businesses’ security cameras during the robberies, they said.

“He then confesses,” Assistant District Attorney Angel Varnado, who prosecuted the case with Blair Constant, told a Jefferson Parish jury this week. “He identified himself, ‘Yes, detective, that was me.’ … He confessed to each one of the robberies.”

The jury of seven men and five women on Friday (Feb. 19) convicted Savage as charged of six counts of armed robbery – one count for each of the six employees who were victimized during four separate armed robberies. The jury announced its verdict just before 9 p.m.

Savage, 42, faces up to 104 years in prison on each count. Judge Michael Mentz of the 24th Judicial District Court set the sentencing for Thursday (Feb. 25).

The maximum sentence Louisiana law allows for armed robbery is 99 years in prison. Prosecutors are seeking to add another five years of imprisonment for each count under the state’s firearm enhancement law, because guns were used in the crimes.

Savage was convicted of robbing a Marrero Subway store on Barataria Boulevard twice, on Jan. 23, 2011 and on March 6, 2011. He robbed a Subway on Jefferson Highway in Old Jefferson on March 13, 2011, and a GameStop outlet on Promenade Boulevard in Marrero on March 24, 2011.

Detectives suspect the duo committed eight armed robberies, according to an arrest report.

In the Jan. 23, 2011 robbery, two masked gunmen entered the Subway as the cashier was in the back of the store preparing to close the business, according to the report. Unable to comply with the demand to open the safe, the woman gave cash from the register before she was force to the floor, detectives said. The suspects fled with about $1,150 in that crime.

Detectives initially were stumped by the four robberies, all committed by two masked gunmen who had similar physical characteristics, concealed their identities and produced firearms in demanding money, prosecutors said. None of the six victims could identify their assailants, the prosecutors said.

After Isaac’s DNA was found on the cigarette butts recovered at two crime scenes, detectives searched his cellular phone call history and noted extensive communication with Savage around the time of the robberies, prosecutors said.

The detectives also used cellular transmission towers to further link Savage and Isaac to the robberies, Varnado told jurors. Through data obtained from the towers, detectives determined that the men were together when the robberies happened, and in the vicinity of the crimes, she said.

Also, Varnado said, one of Isaac’s finger prints was lifted from a video monitor at the GameStop, in an area where customers weren’t allowed.

Savage stood trial this week maintaining his innocence, asserting his confession was coerced and unreliable. He testified he was under the influence of heroin when the detectives questioned him. He the deputies of threatening to tell his wife’s employer that she had been charged a narcotics possession case unless he confessed. Savage also accused Russo of physical abuse, a charge the detective denied in rebuttal testimony.

“I didn’t commit any robbery,” Savage testified Friday. “They got the wrong person, that’s what they have.”

Savage had a misdemeanor theft conviction in 2001, for which he served one year of probation. While jailed in connection with the armed robberies, Savage was charged with battery on a correctional officer, in which he allegedly punched a jailer who was trying to remove illegal contraband from his cell in February 2013, according to the arrest report.

He also has pending charges of possession of heroin, possession of hydrocodone and possession of drug paraphernalia that date to 2010, before he was arrested in the armed robbery cases.

Isaac, 54, of Marrero, is scheduled to stand trial in late June on five counts of armed robbery, court records show. He is charged with committing robberies with Savage except for the Subway crime on Jan. 23, 2011.

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One year, 21 convictions in Harvey Hustlers gang prosecution in Jefferson Parish

Less than a year after a Jefferson Parish grand jury handed up an indictment charging 21 people in connection with the murderous Harvey Hustlers street gang, the last two defendants accused of racketeering and narcotics-related offenses pleaded guilty as charged Tuesday (Feb. 16).

Kerry J. Reynard and Charles D. Gumms face 20 years in prison in connection their roles in the Harvey Hustlers, a gang that trafficked cocaine and heroin from Texas into West Jefferson for resale on area streets.

The gang traces its roots to Harvey’s Scotsdale neighborhood in the 1980s. Its members and affiliated soldiers protected their drug-dealing activities through the gang’s enforcer arm known as the “Murder Squad,” which is linked to numerous homicides.

Federal and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors joined forces in arresting and convicting 82 people related to the gang since 2009. Of them, 29 were prosecuted in Jefferson Parish’s 24th Judicial District Court, while the remainder were handled in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. The investigation into the Harvey Hustlers is ongoing.

Reynard, 26, of Marrero, pleaded guilty Tuesday to racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute heroin and marijuana. Judge Henry Sullivan, in accepting the guilty plea, sentenced Reynard to 20 years in prison.

Charles D. Gumms, 22, of Terrytown, pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to distribute heroin and marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute Tramadol.

His plea agreement calls for a 20-year prison sentence, a punishment that was postponed to March 14.

At the time of his arrest in the Harvey Hustler’s case last year, Gumms was serving three years of probation in connection with his Jan. 17, 2013 plea in New Orleans’ Criminal District Court to possession of a firearm with obliterated serial number, theft of a motor vehicle and resisting an officer, records show.

His probation will be revoked because of his Jefferson Parish charges, and his attorney Steven Lemoine said Tuesday he wants to ensure that his New Orleans sentence is run concurrently with his Jefferson Parish punishment. Judge Sullivan agreed to hold off on the sentencing until after the New Orleans case is resolved.

Two months before Gumms was indicted in the Harvey Hustler case, he was shot several times in December 2014, while in his car in the 2100 block of Esplanade Place in Terrytown. His passenger, Shamyra Plummer, 18, also was shot and died from her injuries, authorities said.

Gumms drove to a convenience store at Terry Parkway and Carol Sue Avenue, ran inside and collapsed. Deputies found Plummer’s body in the back seat.

Gumms and Reynard were among the 21 defendants named in a 30-count indictment prosecutors filed in state court in Gretna on Feb. 26, 2015.

“In all my years in law enforcement, I can safely say the Harvey Hustlers gang was by far one of the most violent, vile criminal organizations that this organization has dealt with,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said during a press conference last year after the indictment was filed.

In the indictment, prosecutors asserted that in addition to narcotics trafficking, gang members were responsible for numerous homicides and saw internal strife in which members even targeted each other. It’s unclear whether Gumms’ 2014 shooting was tied to his involvement in the Harvey Hustlers.

The other 19 people charged in the case were:

  • Charlie Gumms, 20, of Terrytown, pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to distribute heroin and five counts of attempted second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 25 years on each count, and Sullivan ran the sentences concurrently for a total of 25 years. He is Charles Gumms’ younger brother.
  • Richard Chess, 24, of Harvey, pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin and cruelty to juveniles. He received a 20-year prison sentence.
  • Carnell Pierce, 35, of Harvey, pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to distribute heroin, distribute of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • Bryant Gumms, 24, of Harvey, pleaded guilty Thursday (Jan. 28), to racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute heroin. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • Derrick Gumms, 27, of Harvey, pleaded guilty Thursday (Jan. 28), to racketeering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute heroin. He, too, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Bryant and Derrick are siblings.
  • Robert C. Williams, 24, of Avondale, was convicted by a Jefferson Parish jury as charged on Nov. 11 of racketeering, two counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, two counts of convicted felon in possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a stolen firearm and distribution of cocaine. He was sentenced to 120 years in prison.
  • Alcus Smith, 29, of Harvey, stood trial with Williams and was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution of cocaine. He was sentenced to 65 years in prison on Nov. 17. The jury that handed up the verdict was unable to decide Smith’s charge of second-degree murder, leading to a mistrial on that count only. Smith faces retrial on the murder charge.
  • Willie Thornton, 31, of Harvey, pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to racketeering, two counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and two counts of distribution of cocaine. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Jan. 13.
  • Lashawn Davis, 22, of Gretna, pleaded guilty as charged on Nov. 30 to racketeering, five counts of attempted second-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • Davante D. Robertson, 21, of Gretna, pleaded guilty on Dec. 15 to racketeering and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors dismissed five counts of attempted second-degree murder.
  • Ellis C. Landix, 30, of Marrero, pleaded guilty on Jan. 13 to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison as a multiple offender.
  • Paul Smith, 26, of Avondale, pleaded guilty Sept. 28, to racketeering, two counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
  • Brandon J. Motton, 29, of New Orleans, pleaded guilty on Jan. 199, to racketeering, two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana and heroin, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • Keitrel B. Gumms, 25, of Harvey, pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to racketeering, two counts conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, respectively, distribution of cocaine, distribution of marijuana and cruelty to juveniles. His sentencing is set for Feb. 29.
  • Stephanie J. Bradley, 44, of Harvey, pleaded guilty to racketeering on Oct. 19. She has been sentenced to five years in prison.
  • Corey H. Trent, 26, of Marrero, pleaded guilty on Aug 17, to racketeering, two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana and cocaine, distribution of cocaine and cruelty to juveniles. He was sentenced to eight years on prison.
  • Kentaz R. Gayden, 28, of Harahan, pleaded guilty on Dec. 11 to racketeering and two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana and heroin. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
  • Rasheed Smith, 25, of Westwego, pleaded guilty on Jan. 4 to racketeering and two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana and heroin. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • Nathan Carter, 31, of Gretna, pleaded guilty on Oct. 8 to racketeering and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Jefferson Parish Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Seth Shute prosecuted them. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the cases.

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Marrero men who shot out car windows with pellet pistols to pay $31,700 in restitution

Two Marrero men who admitted they used pellet pistols to shoot out windows of more than 200 vehicles in West Jefferson neighborhoods will repay their victims more than $31,700, according to their plea agreements with the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office.

Christopher Flanagan and Dacotah Hamilton, both 22, pleaded guilty on Feb. 4 to eight felony counts of simple criminal damage to property and 209 misdemeanor counts of simple criminal damage to property.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court, who accepted the plea agreements, ordered Flanagan and Hamilton to serve five years of active probation for the felonies and two years of inactive probation for the misdemeanors.

Enright also ordered them to pay restitution totaling $31,716.94, in addition to court costs and fines, court records show. Of that amount, $5,032.66 involves the felony counts and the balance involves the misdemeanors. Enright also ordered that they make monthly restitution payments.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, which was investigating scores of vandalism complaints filed by vehicle owners in the days leading up to Christmas Eve 2013, used license plate recognition cameras to link Flanagan’s 2001 Ford Escape to the vandalism spree.

That led to the two arrests, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Flanagan and Hamilton provided videotaped confessions, admitting that on three separate days they drove into West Jefferson neighborhoods in Flanagan’s car and used pellet pistols to shoot out windows of parked vehicles.

Deputies found pellets and empty CO2 cartridges in Flanagan’s car, according to the arrest report.

Flanagan and Hamilton also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession charges, for which they received two years of inactive probation. They were arrested separately in those cases in July 2013, records show. Their punishments will run concurrently with the criminal damage sentences.

Assistant District Attorney Angad Ghai prosecuted the cases.

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