Leader of large drug trafficking organization and five associates sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking
BATON ROUGE, La. – The leader of a large drug trafficking organization, James C. Hull, 41, of Baton Rouge, was sentenced as part of Operation Hidden Fee, an extensive federal, state and local investigation by the Middle District Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force aimed at a drug trafficking network based and operating in Baton Rouge, announced DEA New Orleans Division Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley and United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin.
On Dec. 12, 2019, a U.S. Chief Judge sentenced Hull to over 10 years (125 months) in federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute methamphetamine, crack cocaine and heroin, distribution of methamphetamine, and unlawful use of a communications facility. The court further sentenced Hull to five years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.
According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, from March 2017 and continuing to June 2017, Hull directed Cody Stafford, Dustin Henderson and William and Frank Lipscomb to store and distribute heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine in their residences to distribute to customers Hull sent to those locations. Brian Hernandez, another associate, helped Hull distribute amounts of heroin and methamphetamine to Hernandez’s set of customers, and then paid Hull the cash owed for the drugs Hull supplied to him on credit. Agents learned that Henry Hayes and Byron Lawson supplied Hull with multi-ounce quantities of heroin and methamphetamine for distribution to others. During the execution of warrants in connection with this investigation, law-enforcement agents seized firearms from the residence of Cody Stafford and Dustin Henderson.
“Methamphetamine, heroin and crack cocaine are destructive poisons that can cause terrible harm to the quality of life in any community,” said Special Agent in Charge Byerley. “Side by side with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, DEA is holding drug dealers accountable. We are seizing their profits, shutting down their distribution networks, and putting dealers where they belong – behind bars. This investigation demonstrates our unending resolve to remove drug dealers from the communities here in the greater Baton Rouge area and across the country. These lengthy sentences will put these criminals out of commission for a long time.”
On June 20, 2019, U.S. Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick sentenced Henry Hayes to serve 10 years (120 months) in prison for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine.
On Aug. 22, 2019, Judge Dick sentenced Frank Lipscomb to serve almost five years (57 months) in prison after he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine, and unlawful use of a communications facility.
On Oct. 1, 2019, U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced William Lipscomb to serve over five years (63 months) in prison after he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, crack cocaine and heroin and unlawful use of a communications facility.
On Oct. 4, 2019, Judge Jackson sentenced Cody Stafford to serve three and a half years (42 months) in prison after he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine.
On Oct. 21, 2019, Judge Jackson sentenced Dustin Henderson to serve five years (60 months) in prison for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and crack and possession of an unregistered short-barreled rifle and unregistered silencers.
Byron Lawson and Brian Hernandez pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Sentencing for Hernandez is set for Jan. 2, 2020, and for Lawson on Jan. 16, 2020.
“The numerous convictions and significant sentences handed down in this case are a testament to the efforts of our prosecutors and our federal, state and local partners who consistently work with us to keep heroin, meth and crack cocaine out of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Fremin. “The investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking organizations requires intensive work by all involved, and this result shows that we will use all of the tools at our disposal to keep our streets free from these poisons.”
These ongoing investigations were led by the DEA with invaluable assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Baton Rouge City Police Department and the Louisiana State Police. Other agencies also assisted in apprehending the defendants, including the U.S. Marshals Service and the Sheriffs’ Offices in Ascension, Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes.
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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