Harvey man convicted in crack possession and distribution, gun possession case

A Harvey man has been convicted of being a crack cocaine dealer, in connection with narcotics with a street value of more than $20,000 that police found in his apartment.

Corey Faciane, 40, was convicted Thursday (March 17) as charged of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He faces two years to 30 years in prison for the drug offense and 10 years to 20 years for the gun charge.

Judge Michael Mentz of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Faciane on Tuesday (March 22).

Members of the West Bank Major Crimes Task Force booked Faciane on Feb. 10, 2011, after finding more than 350 grams of crack cocaine and cocaine powder and paraphernalia in his “stash house” apartment at 2201 Manhattan Blvd. The officers also found more than $28,200 in cash in Faciane’s residence.

They additionally found a pistol in the stash house that had been reported stolen in 2010. Faciane was barred from possessing firearms because of his criminal history. At the time of his arrest, he was serving probation for a conviction in New Orleans of illegal narcotics possession.

After his arrest, Faciane confessed to Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stephen Arnold that the drugs were his and that he sold drugs.

Unrelated to Faciane’s case, Arnold was shot five times by a suspect on Jan. 26 in New Orleans, while serving a warrant obtained by a federal narcotics task force. Arnold remains hospitalized in critical condition and is unable to speak and was unable to testify in Faciane’s trial this week.

Calling Arnold “an essential witness” in the case, prosecutors successfully convinced the judge to allow them to use testimony the deputy provided in a pretrial hearing in 2011. Prosecutors read aloud to the jury the testimony Arnold gave during that proceeding, including portions in which the deputy was cross-examined by Faciane’s attorney.

The jury also heard a recording of the confession that Faciane gave to Arnold.

The task force began its investigation after receiving information from the confidential informant that Faciane was selling narcotics between two apartments, at 2201 Manhattan Blvd., and 3300 Wall Blvd. The informant then agreed to purchase ½-ounce of crack from Faciane, using $500 in cash whose denominations were recorded beforehand.

Within 72 hours of the buy, Jefferson Parish deputies and Gretna police officers executed search warrants on both apartments. While counting the $28,215 in cash found in a shoe box in the Wall Boulevard apartment, the officers discovered the five $100 bills they gave the confidential informant to purchase crack from Faciane.

The jury deliberated about one hour, 15 minutes. Faciane, who had been free from jail on a $200,000 bond since the day of his arrest, was remanded to the parish jail to await Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

Assistant District Attorneys Angel Varnado and Rhonda Goode-Douglas prosecuted the case.

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