Local sentenced on drug charges

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 10, 2011



NEW ORLEANS – A LaPlace man was one of three men sentenced to prison Wednesday for their roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy involving almost 1,000 tablets of ecstacy.

Lionell Adams, 25, joined Minh Tran, 25, of New Orleans and Joseph Sanders, 31, of Jackson, Miss., for a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance in New Orleans. Adams received a 37-month sentence, Tran an 18-month sentence and Sanders a 57-month sentence for their roles in the drug conspiracy, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

The three men had previously pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and possession with intent to distribute ecstacy.

According to court documents, agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration used a confidential source to set up a deal that ultimately led to the arrest of the three men on Feb. 1, 2010. A sworn affidavit from DEA agent Chad Scott indicates the informant contacted Adams on Jan. 31 and arranged to buy the tablets for $5,000.

The following day, the two men met in the parking lot of Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie.

The affidavit states that during the initial meeting, Adams told the confidential source he was waiting on his supplier, who was later identified as Tran. A short time later, Tran and Sanders showed up in the parking lot in separate vehicles.

As the men negotiated a price for the drugs, DEA agents moved in and arrested all three suspects. The agents found one tablet on Adams and 939 more in the glove compartment of Tran’s car. Investigators also found 24 grams of cocaine and other drug paraphernalia in Sanders’ vehicle.

In addition to the prison terms, Vance also imposed a three-year period of supervised release during which the three men will be under federal supervision and risk additional prison time should they violate the terms of release.