News Release
December 5, 2007

Six Local Men Indicted on Federal Drug and Gun Charges
Four Defendants were New Orleans Firefighters

DEC 5 -- NEW ORLEANS , LOUISIANAUnited States Attorney Jim Letten, DEA Special Agent in Charge William J. Renton, Jr., and New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Warren Riley today announced the arrests of MILTON JOSEPH, IV, age 25, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, WAYNE WILLIAMS, II , age 28, a resident of Gretna, Louisiana, AARON WHITE , age 24, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, and EDDIE SANDIFER, III , age 22, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, all employees of the New Orleans Fire Department, and, DAMON BURKHALTER , age 40, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, and LAWRENCE HONORE, a/k/a Terrell, age 34,, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana. All six defendants were charged in a twenty-four count indictment by a Federal Grand Jury for narcotics distribution and firearms-related offenses.

Beginning on May 24, 2007, numerous controlled drug purchases including quantities of cocaine base, heroin, and Schedule III and IV controlled substances were made by undercover law enforcement officers.   Additionally, based upon the investigation, WHITE rented a residence, located at 1434 ½ North Derbigny Street, which was knowingly used to store, package and sell heroin.   JOSEPH, WILLIAMS, WHITE , and SANDIFER are presently employed as New Orleans firemen, and have been placed on suspension pending disposition of the charges by New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Charles Parent.

This morning, Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and members of the New Orleans Police Department, in conjunction with other law enforcement agency personnel functioning under the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, executed federal arrest and search warrants, resulting in the apprehension of JOSEPH, WILLIAMS, WHITE, and SANDIFER .  Defendants HONORE and BURKHALTER are presently being sought by federal authorities.  The federal searches were effected at two locations, including the alleged crack house at 1434 ½ North Derbigny Street resulting in the seizure of quantities of heroin and related distribution materials, as well as other evidence. 

DEA Special Agent in Charge William Renton stated:

“The DEA has identified heroin as a continuing threat in the Greater New Orleans area.  This threat has increased substantially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Intelligence and enforcement efforts have been redirected to address this - the most dangerous of illegal drugs.  Heroin is an illegal drug that breeds violent crime as well as significant property crimes in our community.  

It is always unfortunate when public servants violate their oath of office and engage in illegal activity.  The vast majority of New Orleans Firefighters are extremely dedicated and competent individuals who protect and serve the citizens of this area.  I would like to express my gratitude to Chief Parent and the New Orleans Fire Department who cooperated fully with federal task force officers in this important investigation.”

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten added:

“Upon today’s developments in this important drug investigation, I want to offer my sincere thanks to New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Charles Parent and his highly professional staff for their outstanding assistance and cooperation in this critical but sensitive matter, and for the New Orleans Fire Department’s continued heroic contributions to the public safety of our citizens and the recovery of this great city.  The men and women of the New Orleans Fire Department are and will continue to be critical professionals upon whom we rely each day for our safety. 

I also want to thank Gulf Coast HIDTA Director Tony Soto for his leadership and commitment, and for the outstanding partnerships which have resulted in this and numerous other efforts against drug trafficking.

Finally, as always, the professionals of DEA and the NOPD, working in close partnership with our prosecutors, has yielded outstanding results in yet another case.  I therefore offer my continued gratitude to NOPD Superintendent Warren Riley and DEA Special Agent in Charge Bill Renton for another job well done.”

The case was investigated by the members of a Drug Enforcement Administration HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Task Force, the New Orleans Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  HIDTA provided substantial funding for this and many other important investigations. 

The media and public are reminded that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.