News Release
October 16, 2009
Contact: Roberto E. Bryan, Jr.
Special Agent/PIO
Number: 504-840-1360

Mandeville Resident Sentenced to Federal Prison Term for
Drug and Gun Offenses

OCT 16 -- NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA -JOSEPH OTERO, age 22, resident of Mandeville, LA, was sentenced in federal court to ten (10) years (120 months) in prison by U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon in prison for federal drug and gun charges, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. 

Specifically, OTERO was sentenced to five (5) years (60 months) in prison for one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride and a quantity of marijuana and five (5) years (60 months) on one count of possessing two firearms in furtherance of the conspiracy. According to the mandatory statutory penalty provision for the gun violation, United States District Court Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon ordered OTERO’s sentences to run consecutively.

OTERO’s co-defendant SANDY ZARA was also sentenced today to three (3) years probation and a $3,000 fine for one count of misprision of a felony for her role in the conspiracy. Both defendants pled guilty on July 15, 2009.

According to the court documents, DEA agents intercepted a Federal Express package from Texas containing 1 kilogram of cocaine hydrochloride destined for delivery at 2400 David Drive in Metairie, Louisiana.  Working in an undercover capacity, agents delivered the package to 2400 David Drive where it was accepted by SANDY ZARA, age 40, who knew OTERO through his relationship with her daughter.   ZARA, also a resident of Mandeville, had previously agreed to accept the package and knew  that OTERO was involved in cocaine distribution.  When OTERO arrived at 2400 David Drive, he and ZARA were arrested.  Searches of ZARA’s Mandeville residence where OTERO frequently stayed and OTERO’s Kenner residence resulted in the seizure of two firearms and approximately 460 grams of marijuana.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.