Tag: Louisiana State Police

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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Kenner gymnastics coach sentenced to 25 years in prison for child pornography and video voyeurism

A gymnastics coach at Kenner and Metairie businesses who secretly made videos of a 9-year-old girl changing clothing and later was found to have child pornography in his Kenner home has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Brian Townsend, 43, of Kenner, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (March 22), to 10 counts of possession of child pornography and 11 counts of video voyeurism. In addition to prison time, whenever released from custody, Townsend will have register as a sex offender and remain under supervision for the rest of his life.

The Kenner Police Department opened an investigation in July after learning from the Louisiana State Police that Townsend was sharing and downloading child pornography on the internet using peer-to-peer file sharing software, according to the arrest report.

Kenner and State Police, working with agents of the FBI New Orleans Division’s Violent Crimes Against Children/Human Trafficking Task Force, were able to remotely view videos of prepubescent girls engaging in sexual activity that were on Townsend’s computer. Task force members traced the computer to Townsend’s home on California Avenue in Kenner.

The police searched his home on Oct. 29, when Townsend disclosed he coached children’s gymnastics for about 30 years, according to the arrest report. Among the items police found were 13 videos of a 9-year-old girl whom he secretly recorded with the video camera on his cellular device, which he hid in a room where he sent the child to change her clothing, according to the report.

The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office filed a bill of information in court on Jan. 1, charging Townsend with 10 counts of possession of child pornography and 11 counts of video voyeurism. The crimes happened between 2010 and 2015, according to the bill of information.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court, who accepted the plea arrangement, sentenced Townsend to 25 years for each of the child pornography counts and 10 years for each of the video voyeurism counts.  He ran the sentences concurrently.

Assistant District Attorney Angad Ghai prosecuted the case.

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