Member of Large Louisiana Drug Trafficking Organization Sentence to 30 Years for Gun and Drug Charges 

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Published November 13, 2022

Member of Large Louisiana Drug Trafficking Organization Sentence to 30 Years for Gun and Drug Charges

Louisiana – On November 10, 2022, United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. announced the sentencing of Travis R. James, age 38 of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as part of Operation Hidden Fee, an extensive federal, state, and local investigation by the Middle District Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) aimed at a drug trafficking network based and operating in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Following his convictions for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon, Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick sentenced James to 360 months in federal prison. Following his prison sentence, James must serve five years of supervised release. The Court decided that James had been a leader and organizer of a drug trafficking ring of thirteen people for years when it imposed James’ prison sentence. It was discovered that this organization was generating significant amounts of drugs and drug trafficking proceeds. His considerable criminal past, which included criminal conduct conducted while under supervision, and his history of violence were also factors in support of the term given. The Court also ordered the forfeiture of the firearms implicated and ordered James to pay a personal money judgment of $139,632 equal to the total worth of the revenues and property used to enable the drug trafficking conspiracy.

According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, James led a group of people, including Troy James, Joshua Mansion, Kim Murphy, Yascia LaFrance, Belinda Carter, Cornelius Carter, and others, in a venture to obtain kilograms of cocaine from various sources in Houston, Texas, transporting those amounts of cocaine to stash houses in Baton Rouge and Prairieville, where some amounts of cocaine were broken down for distribution to others.

In many cases, the volumes brought into the Middle District of Louisiana by this group involved five or more kilograms of cocaine per trip. Authorities recovered and forfeited nearly $500,000 in drug trafficking proceeds from James, as well as around eight weapons, two-kilo presses, and heroin and cocaine testing kits, during this investigation. The inquiry also revealed that James was planning to expand into heroin trafficking with the proceeds from the selling of crack and powder cocaine. He intended to start the enterprise by purchasing a kilogram of heroin.

Previously, Chief Judge Dick sentenced Troy James to 115 months in prison; Joshua Mansion to 120 months in prison; Kim Murphy to 168 months in prison; Yascia LaFrance to 90 months in prison; Cornelius Carter to 120 months in prison; and Belinda Carter to 19 months in prison.

This operation is part of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that pose a threat to the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted this investigation, which was assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Baton Rouge City Police Department, and the Louisiana State Police. The US Marshals Service and the Sheriffs’ Offices in Ascension, Iberville, and West Baton Rouge Parishes also aided in apprehending the defendants. Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Piedrahita and Lyman E. Thornton III prosecuted these cases.