One From Louisiana and One From Texas Plead Guilty in Large Scale Drug Trafficking Case in Federal Court in Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana – Two people, one from Louisiana and one from Texas, have pleaded guilty in a large-scale drug trafficking case in federal court in Louisiana.
On May 19, 2023, U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Hakim Shabazz, age 46, of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Rene Washington, age 54, of Houston, Texas pleaded guilty on May 16, 2023, before United States District Judge Jay C. Zainey to violating the Controlled Substances Act.
According to court records, Washington was stopped by law enforcement agents on Interstate 10 between New Orleans and Houston. Officers with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office seized $948,174 from Washington’s vehicle, as well as several cell phones. Text communications indicating drug trafficking were found on the phones, as well as ledgers. DEA investigators in New Orleans conducted a search warrant at a business Washington visited just before departing for Houston, discovering over 250 grams of crack cocaine and $84,803 in cash. By analyzing text messages and phone records, agents determined that Shabazz, who operated an auto body shop, was receiving the shipments of cocaine. The men stated that their plot involved 50 to 150 kg of cocaine.
The sentencing date has been set on September 5, 2023. Shabazz and Washington each face a required minimum term of ten years in prison, up to life in prison, a fine of up to ten million dollars, and at least five years of supervised release. A $100 special assessment charge is also required for the count.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated this case. The prosecution is led by Assistant United States Attorney David Haller of the Violent Crime Unit.