A New Orleans man who already served prison time for illegal narcotics was convicted Wednesday night (Sept. 14) of being a heroin dealer in connection with the 50 grams of the narcotic that deputies found during the investigation, most of it stashed in the Metairie motel room he shared with his then-girlfriend.
Clarence Dixon, 34, was convicted by a Jefferson Parish jury of possession with intent to distribute heroin and of attempted possession of cocaine. Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court plans to sentence Dixon in October.
Dixon and his then-girlfriend, Jenny Montecino, 34, of Metairie, were arrested on Jan. 23, 2015, when about 9:15 p.m., they were pulled over in a traffic stop in the 6500 block of Airline Drive. Two reserve Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies initiated the stop after noticing the license plate registration had expired for the couple’s 2001 Nissan Pathfinder, according to testimony.
Dixon and Montecino had active attachments for their arrests and were taken into custody. Montecino, who also was driving without insurance and with an expired driver’s license, readily admitted she had .8 grams of cocaine and five grams of heroin stashed in her underwear, reserve Deputy Salvador Provenzano testified.
Following the traffic stop, Montecino immediately said the narcotics belonged to Dixon, the father of her child. She testified that Dixon ordered her to “stuff it” in her underwear about 15 minutes before they were pulled over, as she drove him to make a drug transaction.
“He didn’t want to hold them (the illegal narcotics) because of the repercussions of his background,” she testified Wednesday. “He didn’t want to get into trouble.”
She testified that she didn’t want to take the blame for his narcotics, either. “I didn’t want to get in trouble,” Montecino testified. “It wasn’t mine.”
During the traffic stop, Provenzano noticed Dixon in the front passenger seat, furtively handling a large amount of cash that he stuffed in a purse in the center console, he testified.
The investigation lead the detectives to the couple’s motel room in the 5700 block of Airline Drive, where the couple acquired a room in Montecino’s name about six weeks earlier, according to testimony.
The detectives found a digital scale, two bottles of room sanitizer the deputies said could be used to cut or dilute narcotics and Dixon’s identification card. They found 44.9 grams of heroin in a red plastic container on a shelf in the closet, Detective Nicholas Buttone testified.
Pursuant to a court order, the detectives seized $2,568 in currency as proceeds from illegal narcotics sales, in dominations ranging from $100, $50, $20, $10, $5 and $1 bills, Buttone testified.
Montecino pleaded guilty on Oct. 15 to simple possession of heroin and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. She testified against Dixon, per her plea agreement, and faces a punishment ranging from probation up to 15 years in prison. She will receive her sentence next month.
She testified that she feared Dixon, and that he purchased the Pathfinder from a man she identified only as “Jason.” The vehicle was registered to a Pineville, La., woman whom she did not know, and she also testified that she drove Dixon to conduct his narcotics transactions.
Dixon’s attorney argued that the narcotics belonged to Montecino, whom he said falsely blamed her boyfriend to save herself.
Dixon pleaded guilty to similar offenses – possession of heroin and possession of cocaine – in the 24th Judicial District Court in March 2010 and received a 5-year prison sentence, records show. Those convictions stem from his June 2009 arrest, after deputies found .8 grams of heroin and 4.7 grams of crack cocaine in a Shrewsbury Court residence.
Assistant District Attorneys Andrew DeCoste and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.