A New Orleans East man was convicted as charged in Jefferson Parish Thursday night (Nov. 18) of possession with intent to distribute the 149 grams of marijuana he left behind in a Gretna motel room earlier this year.
Raymond Allen, 28, rented a room in the 100 block of the Westbank Expressway for one night on May 5, 2016. The following morning, he left the hotel to run errands, planning to return to his room before the 11 a.m. check-out time.
He was unable to make it back in time. A housekeeper who was cleaning the room discovered the marijuana and notified the hotel management, which in turn called the Gretna Police Department.
Allen returned to the hotel about 12:30 p.m., that day, planning to ask the manager if he could obtain his belongings. Instead, he was greeted by police officers who were investigating the marijuana.
“Y’all are here because of the weed in my room,” Allen told the officers, admitting later that he was in the process of selling marijuana to help himself financially. Officers also found more than $900 in cash in his pocket during the arrest.
The officers found five sandwich bags stuffed with marijuana in a plastic grocery bag that was set atop the room’s dresser. The officers also found paraphernalia associated with marijuana distribution.
Testifying during the daylong trial on Thursday, Allen denied the charges, saying he purchased the marijuana in bulk to save money, and that he bought it only for personal use. He said he lived with his mother in eastern New Orleans at the time and so he rented the Gretna motel room to have private time with his girlfriend and not as a location from which he would sell marijuana.
A 12-member Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about 40 minutes before returning with its verdict just before 10 p.m. Allen faces a punishment of five years to 30 years in prison, with the benefit of probation, parole or suspended sentence.
Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Allen on Dec. 1. It is within the judge’s discretion to suspend the imposition of the sentence and place the subject on probation.
Assistant District Attorneys Michael Smith and Angel Manzanares prosecuted the case.