News Release
November 4, 2009
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
(202) 307-7977

New Orleans Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Murder of DEA Special Agent Thomas J. Byrne

NOV 04 -- New Orleans, LA – U.S. District Court Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt today sentenced Ameal Parker, age 47, to 30 years in prison for the murder of DEA Supervisory Special Agent Thomas J. Byrne.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration is committed to bringing to bear every resource at its command to ensure that those who harm our employees are brought to justice, and justice is what Special Agent Thomas Byrne’s murderer received in court today,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “Agent Byrne’s life was dedicated to taking traffickers and their dangerous drugs off the streets and out of our communities. With this sentence, his ruthless killer will be behind bars for a long time for a heinous and senseless crime against a remarkable DEA Agent and dedicated husband and father who we deeply miss."

Parker pled guilty on July 23, 2009 following an investigation which revealed that on August 28, 2008, Supervisory Special Agent Byrne was visiting New Orleans in his official capacity while attending the U. S. Department of Justice-sponsored Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Southeast Regional Conference. Special Agent Byrne died on August 30, 2008 at Tulane University Hospital from injuries he received from Parker during an assault and robbery in the early morning hours of Thursday, August 28, 2008.

This prosecution was the result of a cooperative investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U. S. Marshals Service and New Orleans Police Department, with the valuable assistance of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office. Crimestoppers was also instrumental in efforts to gather pertinent evidence surrounding the crime.

Supervisory Special Agent Byrne was a 16-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration, most recently assigned to the Houston Division. He was married and the father of four children.

The prosecution has been handled by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Maurice Landrieu and Jay Quinlan.