New Orleans man pleads guilty in auto theft racketeering case

Two weeks after he was named in a racketeering indictment charging 13 people in a sweeping car theft ring, an eastern New Orleans man pleaded guilty on Friday (May 20) to his role in an enterprise that the indictment alleges to be responsible for almost one-third of the stolen vehicles in Jefferson Parish in recent years.

Jimmie “Black” James, 28, pleaded guilty as charged to racketeering, conspiracy to commit theft, seven counts of theft and one count of altering a motor vehicle identification number. Judge Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court, who accepted the plea, deferred the sentencing, which is set for the week of Sept. 19.

James and 12 other men are named in a 34-count indictment that a Jefferson Parish grand jury handed up on May 5. According to the indictment, the men were responsible for an estimated 32 percent of Jefferson Parish’s auto thefts in 2014 and 2015, amounting to losses exceeding $2.5 million.

According to the indictment, James’ role in the criminal enterprise involved defeating vehicles’ door locks and ignitions and delivering the stolen vehicles to other members of the enterprise. His expertise was in stealing and tagging diesel trucks, according to the indictment.

James pleaded guilty to stealing a 2005 GMC Yukon XL on April 13, 2015; a 2006 Ford F250 on April 16, 2015; a 2003 GMC Yukon on April 23, 2015; a 2006 Chevrolet 1500 on May 4, 2015; a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado on June 10, 2015; a Chevrolet Silverado on June 11, 2015; and a Chevrolet Silverado on May 2, 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing a Chevrolet 2500 whose vehicle identification number had been altered in order to conceal the truck’s identity.

Others named in the indictment are Parrish Norris, 41; Jason A. Mercadel, 38; Oliver D. Green, 46; Patrick N. Robinson III, 28; Patrick N. Robinson Jr., 49; Cardell E. Torrence, 39; Ronnel A. Kyles, 29; Kevin A. Martin, 29; Brandon P. Evans, 30; Keith A. Nero, 29; Shon R. Claiborne, 27; and Ronald J. Johnson, 29.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Auto Theft Unit and the Louisiana State Police handled the investigation.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese, Lindsay Truhe and Thomas Sanderson are prosecuting the cases.

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