August 05, 2015
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
Three Defendants Sentenced In Heroin Conspiracy
NEW ORLEANS - Drug Enforcement (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown and United States Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that Arthur McKinnis, age 25, Narcisse Trotter, age 44, and Aaronisha Lewis, age 26, all of New Orleans, were sentenced today for their roles in a heroin conspiracy. McKinnis pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to distribute at least one kilogram of heroin in the New Orleans area, and Trotter and Lewis pleaded to charges of using cell phones in furtherance of the heroin trafficking conspiracy.
U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt sentenced McKinnis to 172 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. The Court sentenced Trotter to 42 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment. Lewis was sentenced to 24 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
On June 24, 2015, U.S. District Judge Engelhardt sentenced Malcolm Bolden to 300 months in prison for heroin distribution and distribution of heroin resulting in an overdose death. Noel Jones received a sentenced of 162 months in prison for distribution of heroin. Terence Taylor, Percy Depron, Ernest Diaz and Melvin Smith are awaiting sentencing. Theodore Griffin and Trey Mitchell are scheduled for trial on September 14, 2015.
According to court documents, the investigation of this trafficking organization included multiple court-authorized wiretaps by the DEA New Orleans Police Department High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group, including taps of cell phones used by dealers to communicate with suppliers, other co-conspirators, and customers. DEA worked together with agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct numerous undercover purchases of heroin, surveillance operations, searches, witness debriefings, records analyses, and other investigative techniques to uncover and dismantle the heroin trafficking activities of the group.
The investigation showed that the defendants had been using a residence in New Orleans East as a base of operations to meet with heroin suppliers, maintain a heroin stash, and provide heroin to other dealers.
Numerous daily heroin customers also called the ‘dope’ phones used by these defendants every day to order heroin. Typically one of the dealers would answer these calls, ask the caller how much heroin he or she wanted to buy, and direct the caller to drive to a gas station or other commercial location in the New Orleans East neighborhood. Through subsequent calls and then visual contact between the customer and dealer, the dealer would direct the customer to rendezvous in a parking lot or on a side street near the commercial location to conduct the heroin sale.
According to the record, in July 2013, a court-authorized wiretap of the ‘dope’ phone used by defendant Terence Taylor intercepted a series of calls relating to the sale of heroin to a person who had recently been through treatment for heroin addiction, and who died later that day as a result of a heroin overdose. Intercepted calls helped to demonstrate that Taylor negotiated this particular sale of heroin and that defendant Malcomb Bolden subsequently met with the decedent to complete the sale.
This case was worked by the DEA New Orleans Police Department High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group, the FBI, and the ATF, with the assistance of the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office, the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana State Police.