A Jefferson Parish jury has found a Gretna resident guilty of possessing almost 4,000 grams of cocaine, which deputies found in a West Bank storage unit during their investigation of narcotics trafficking that originated in Texas.
The defendant, who uses the name Marvin Acevedo, 35, was convicted as charged Tuesday night (July 10) of possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine. At the time of the arrest, Louisiana law did not differentiate the weight once the amount exceeded 400 grams.
Federal authorities say that the defendant had been using, among other aliases, the name of Marvin Acevedo. The real Marvin Acevedo has been jailed on drug charges in Puerto Rico since 2014. The defendant refuses to reveal his identity, according to testimony presented to the jury.
Acevedo was arrested June 19, 2017, during an investigation by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office narcotics agents. Acting on a tip that Acevedo was smuggling cocaine from Texas to sell in Jefferson Parish, the agents began surveilling the suspect on Interstate 10 at the state border, according to trial testimony.
The agents followed Acevedo’s pick-up truck to Jefferson Parish, where they pulled it over in Kenner. Acevedo and another man, who was not arrested, were in the truck.
With the help of a Kenner Police Department canine, the agents located 12 grams of cocaine in a magnetic key-holding box that was attached to the truck’s undercarriage. The agents also found more than $3,300 in cash inside the truck’s sunglasses compartment.
In Acevedo’s wallet, the agents found a Florida state identification card, approximately one gram of cocaine and information tied to a storage unit facility. The agents tracked the information to a storage facility to a business on Belle Chasse Highway in unincorporated Gretna, only blocks from Acevedo’s apartment. The agents also found in Acevedo’s possession a key to a storage unit lock, according to trial evidence.
After obtaining a search warrant, the agents entered Acevedo’s storage unit. Inside, they found an ice chest in which there were four bricks of cocaine, each weighing one kilogram, according to trial evidence. Each brick could have a local street value of about $150,000, according to testimony.
The agents also found in the ice chest various documents with Acevedo’s name on them. The agents further determined that Acevedo leased the storage unit.
They also recovered several “burner phones,” which according to testimony are commonly used by drug dealers because they aren’t traced to a registered name. The Sheriff’s Office recovered text messages from one of the phones that was indicative of drug dealing activity.
The jury deliberated about 1 ½ hours before reaching its verdict. Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Acevedo on Aug. 9.
Assistant District Attorneys Jennifer Voss and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.