Drug Enforcement Administration

New Orleans

Stephen G. Azzam, Special Agent in Charge

January 30, 2015

Contact: SA Debbie Webber

Phone Number: (504) 840-1100

111 Arrests Made In Operation "Wild Wild East"

NEW ORLEANS - Drug Enforcement (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown, U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite, FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Anderson, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, and Louisiana State Probation and Parole District Administrator Frank Palestina announce the results of Operation “Wild Wild East.”

Beginning in late July 2014, DEA New Orleans Field Division initiated and led Operation Wild Wild East as part of a Violent Trafficker (VTI).  This operation was in response to a sharp increase in shootings and homicides in eastern New Orleans.  DEA and FBI agents, in conjunction with the New Orleans Police Department and Louisiana State Probation and Parole, began the VTI by targeting violent, repeat offenders selling heroin, crack cocaine, and guns.  Over a six month period, special agents conducted undercover buys and telephone wire intercepts concentrated in eastern New Orleans.

On January 29, 2015, DEA, FBI, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Probation and Parole conducted multiple search and arrest operations involving more than 110 law enforcement officers.  This operation resulted in the 111 (19 Federal / 92 State) with the seizures of 32 (4 rifles, 27 handguns, 1 shotgun), 1 ballistic vest, 9 vehicles, $971,234 U.S. currency, jewelry valued at $332,289, and quantities of heroin and crack cocaine.  Of the 111 arrested during this operation, 65 had prior felony arrests.  These repeat offenders were removed off the street - relieving the crime riddled eastern New Orleans 7th District of a tremendous burden.

“Drug trafficking is one of the primary drivers of violent crime across the United States, and the City of New Orleans is no exception,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown.  “This operation focused the joint efforts of DEA and our law enforcement partners on those drug dealers who preyed upon the good people in New Orleans East by selling drugs and committing acts of violence to protect their illegal business, and to retaliate on their perceived competition.  Drug dealing and violent crime often walk hand in hand spreading fear and destruction wherever they go, and we in law enforcement have an obligation to put a stop to those who would destroy our communities.  DEA is committed to its partnerships with the New Orleans Police Department, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Division of Probation and Parole, the FBI, and the other dedicated law enforcement officers who work in and around the City of New Orleans in our ongoing efforts to make it a safer and better place for our families and children.”

“This is the way law enforcement will do business in this region,” stated U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite.  “Together, we are focusing on identifying, investigating, engaging, and ultimately removing perpetrators of violence from our streets.  Whether it is through the MAG Unit, headed by NOPD and headquartered at ATF, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, or efforts like DEA’s Operation Wild Wild East, we are all in this fight to ensure a safer New Orleans area.”

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.  

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