Tag: Federal Bureau of Investigation

‘Harvey Hustlers’ narcotics supplier sentenced to life for Marrero murder

A judge on Monday (Dec. 2) sentenced Alcus Smith to life in prison for his conviction of killing Donte Hall in Marrero.

Smith, 32, of Harvey, was convicted by a jury on Oct. 31 of the second-degree murder of Hall, 22, who was shot multiple times in the 2600 block of Pelican Bay Boulevard on Nov. 15, 2013.

Smith was a narcotics trafficker who supplied the notorious West Bank gang “Harvey Hustlers,” according to evidence presented at trial. Smith killed Hall believing that Hall cheated him in a narcotics transaction, according to trial evidence.

Smith already is serving a 65-year sentence for his 2015 conviction of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution of cocaine. Smith was charged in a case against the Harvey Hustlers that was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

After denying post-verdict motions and hearing impact testimony from Hall’s mother on Monday, retired Judge Raymond Bigelow, sitting pro tempore at the 24th Judicial District Court, sentenced Smith to the mandatory life sentence for killing Hall. Judge Bigelow ran the life sentence concurrent with the 65-year sentence Smith already is serving.

Assistant District Attorneys Seth Shute and Doug Freese prosecuted the case.

‘Harvey Hustlers’ narcotics supplier convicted of Marrero murder

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Oct. 31) found Alcus Smith guilty of gunning down a man on a Marrero street in a retaliatory killing six years ago.

Smith, 32, of Harvey, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Donte Hall, 22, who was shot multiple times in the 2600 block of Pelican Bay Boulevard on the night of Nov. 15, 2013.

According to evidence presented at trial, Smith, a narcotics trafficker who was a supplier of the notorious Harvey Hustlers street gang, killed Hall believing that Hall cheated him in a drug transaction.

Smith already is serving a 65-year prison sentence in connection with his 2015 conviction of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution of cocaine. He was among 21 people indicted by a Jefferson Parish grand jury in 2015 in a sweeping narcotics racketeering case involving the Harvey Hustlers.

The jury, which was seated Monday, deliberated less than one hour in reaching its verdict. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced to life in prison on Nov. 14.

UPDATE: Smith’s sentencing hearing was postponed to Dec. 2.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.


Nakesia Washington pleads guilty to stealing from 2018 Essence Festival tourists

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (July 3) gave Nakesia Washington a 15-year sentence after she admitted to stealing money from almost 100 people who paid her to arrange their travel packages to New Orleans’ Essence Festival last year.

Washington, 42, of Harvey, who was the sole owner of OBL Travel in Marrero, pleaded guilty as charged to theft of U.S. currency valued at $25,000 or greater from 98 victims listed in the amended bill of information the state filed in court Wednesday. All the victims live out of state; a dozen of them provided letters that were read aloud in court as impact testimony in which they expressed anger over how Washington ruined their festival plans and how they suffered financially.

In accepting the plea, Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court gave Washington a 15-year prison sentence. Judge Kovach then suspended six of those years, meaning Washington’s prison term will be nine years. Of the six-year balance, Washington will serve three years on active probation, during which she must pay restitution to the victims, the judge ordered.

Judge Kovach set a restitution hearing for July 11 to determine the amount she owes the victims.

Washington accepted money from customers to arrange for their hotel reservations, VIP party passes, concert tickets, travel insurance and other festival-related purposes, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Her customers traveled to New Orleans only to learn that, in some cases, they had no hotel reservations or services for which they paid.

Washington deposited more than $240,000 into her business bank account and provided some of the services her customers sought. She also used that account to pay for an array of personal activities, from restaurants to rental car payments and gasoline to shopping trips, Sheriff’s Office economic crimes detectives found.

The Sheriff’s Office investigated the case with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Voss prosecuted the case.



New Orleans man on 4-state crime spree convicted of Kenner armed robbery

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Dec. 13) found a New Orleans man guilty of robbing a Kenner business, part of a crime spree in which he committed similar heists in four states during a three-month period in early 2014.

Steven J. Rodney, 34, was convicted as charged of the armed robbery of the Walmart at 300 West Esplanade Ave., on March 7, 2014.

About 8:30 p.m., Rodney approached a 25-year-old employee working at a check-out register, lifted his shirt to reveal a pistol and then pointed it at her before returning it to his pants waistband, according to the Kenner Police Department. He ordered the employee to escort him to near an exit, where he fled with about $1,500, according to trial evidence.

Rodney arrived in the area on a commercial flight from Las Vegas on March 5, 2014, according to trial evidence. The day after, on March 6, he is accused of robbing the American Apparel store in the 3300 block of Magazine Street in New Orleans. And then, on March 8, 2014, the day after the Kenner robbery, he returned by air to Las Vegas, according to trial evidence.

Kenner and New Orleans police detectives determined that the same suspect committed both crimes. With the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police identified Rodney as the robber.

In all, between January 2014 and March 2014, Rodney robbed businesses in Colorado, California, Nevada and Kenner and New Orleans, traveling by commercial airlines between the locations to commit the crimes.

Rodney admitted to the Jefferson Parish jury that he committed the crimes to feed his addiction to Oxycodone. He denied using a dangerous weapon, asserting he used a toy gun that shoots rubber projectiles. As such, he asserted he was not guilty of armed robbery.

The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about an hour before returning its verdict. Judge June Berry Darensburg of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Rodney on Jan. 8.

Assistant District Attorneys Zachary Popovich and Joshua Vanderhooft prosecuted the case.