April 14, 2015
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1363
California Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Distribute Methamphetamine
NEW ORLEANS - Drug Enforcement (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown and U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that Leonid Djuga, a/k/a “Leonid Dzhuga,” age 37, of Reseda, California, pleaded guilty today, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
According to court documents, in June 2014, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s (SBSO) deputies investigating methamphetamine distribution in Arabi, Louisiana, arrested two men who were selling methamphetamine on West Judge Perez Drive. Through their investigation, deputies learned that their source of methamphetamine was Djuga, a resident of Reseda. SBSO deputies coordinated with agents from the Drug Enforcement (DEA) New Orleans Field Office, and between June 26th and 27th, 2014, federal agents and SBSO deputies intercepted four packages containing methamphetamine being mailed through Federal Express to Arabi. In total, the four packages contained over one kilogram of methamphetamine. According to DEA laboratory analysts, the methamphetamine in all four packages had a purity level of over 99%, with one shipment testing as 100% pure methamphetamine.
On July 15, 2014, DEA agents, assisted by Los Angeles Police Department officers and a St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s deputy, arrested Djuga at his residence in Reseda, pursuant to a federal arrest warrant. At Djuga’s residence, agents located plastic bottles that were similar to the bottles used to package the methamphetamine that was seized in Louisiana. Agents also seized from Djuga’s office a notebook that appeared to be a drug ledger; a receipt for a package being shipped to Arabi; and three cellular telephones. Agents also located a BMW that was registered to Djuga. In the trunk of the car, agents found a box cutter with residue. The residue was field tested which resulted in a presumptive positive result for the presence of methamphetamine. A subsequent search of Djuga’s cellular phones pursuant to a warrant revealed text messages discussing shipments of packages to Louisiana and a photograph of a FedEx tracking label destined for Louisiana.
Djuga faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, a $10 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk set sentencing for July 23, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office with the Drug Enforcement Administration in investigating this matter and thanked the District Attorney’s Office for Louisiana’s 34th Judicial District, the DEA Los Angeles Field Office, and the Los Angeles Police Department for providing assistance. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Payne and Brandon Long are in charge of the prosecution.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.