Louisiana Man Faces Up to 60 Years in Prison and $6 Million in Finres in Connection with Trafficking Fentanyl and Firearm Violation

By Liora Hawthorne
Published July 08, 2023

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Louisiana Man Faces Up to 60 Years in Prison and $6 Million in Finres in Connection with Trafficking Fentanyl and Firearm Violation

Louisiana – A Louisiana man faces up to 60 years in prison and up to $6 million in fines in connection with trafficking fentanyl and a firearm violation.

Joshua Picou, a 30-year-old resident of Houma, Louisiana, admitted his guilt on July 6, 2023, for breaking the Federal Gun Control Act and Federal Controlled Substances Act. According to the statement by United States Attorney Duane A. Evans, Picou pleaded guilty to distributing a substance that contained fentanyl and cocaine, as well as possessing fentanyl, crack cocaine, and cocaine with the intent to distribute. These actions are in direct violation of Title 21 United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 841(b)(1)(C). Additionally, he pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, which goes against Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2).

Based on court records, on three separate occasions in 2021 (May 27, June 2, and June 22), Picou was involved in distributing a combination of fentanyl and cocaine. Furthermore, on June 24, 2021, he was found in possession of over forty grams of fentanyl, over twenty-eight grams of cocaine base, and an unspecified amount of cocaine, with the intention to distribute. On the same date, he was also discovered to possess two firearms, specifically a Glock Model 17 handgun and a Springfield Armory XDM-9. It is important to note that Picou, despite having prior criminal convictions, was prohibited from owning firearms. These convictions consist of a felony for possessing and intending to distribute a controlled substance in Louisiana, and a misdemeanor charge for a domestic violence offense in Louisiana.

During the sentencing process, Picou could receive a maximum punishment of twenty years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, and at least three years of supervised release for charges related to the distribution of fentanyl and cocaine, as well as possession with intent to distribute cocaine. These penalties would apply to each count he is charged with. If he is found guilty of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl or cocaine base, he could face a minimum of five years and a maximum of forty years in prison, a fine of $5,000,000, and at least four years of supervised release. Additionally, if he is convicted of possessing a firearm after being previously convicted of a felony offense, he could be sentenced to a maximum of ten years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Finally, for each count listed in the indictment, Picou would also be required to pay a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.

This particular case is connected to Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), an initiative that aims to decrease violent crime and gun violence by uniting law enforcement at all levels and the local communities they serve. The goal is to create safer neighborhoods for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department implemented an enhanced strategy for reducing violent crime in alignment with the principles of PSN. These principles include building trust and credibility within communities, supporting organizations that actively prevent violence, setting targeted enforcement priorities, and evaluating the outcomes.

The investigation carried out by Homeland Securities Investigations and the Terrebonne Parish Sherriff’s Office in this matter was commended by U.S. Attorney Evans. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Haller from the Violent Crime Unit is handling the prosecution of this case.