LaPlace heroin & cocaine dealers convicted in federal court
NEW ORLEANS — Two LaPlace men were among four convicted this week of drug dealing and weapons possession. Now those involved face life imprisonment and millions of dollars in fines.
A release from U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans said Andre “Dre” Staggers, 44; Corey Session, 44; Gregory “Lil Gregg” London Jr., 42; and Leonard “London” Morrison, 36, were convicted Sunday after a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon.
Staggers, of LaPlace, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, along with firearms charges. He faces life imprisonment, a $10,000,000 fine and five years of supervised release.
London, of LaPlace, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and faces 40 years in prison, a $5,000,000 fine and at least four years of supervised release.
The other men, residents of St. Rose, face similar sentences.
“Instead of the guy on the corner selling drugs, we’re trying to go to the source,” Sheriff Mike Tregre said. “If you get the top tier, the rest will fade away.
“The problem is, as soon as (one group) fades away, somebody thinks, ‘OK, it’s my turn. I’m going to take that spot.’ We keep seeing that same cycle. We just got rid of this top tier and someone thinks they are next in line to inherit the throne.”
Tregre said local law enforcement’s partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration made these convictions possible, something he said could not have been done by St. John Parish alone.
According to evidence presented at trial, DEA agents ran an investigation from January 2015 through February 2016 concerning cocaine and heroin distribution in St. John and St. Charles Parishes, resulting in the seizure of nearly a kilogram of heroin along with scales, money counters, firearms and more than $480,000 in cash.
Tregre described the defendants as “top tier” drug dealers.
“You would think once you see one person get apprehended and face many years in prison, somebody would not want to go down that path, but they do,” Tregre said. “We’re talking up to life sentences in prison. What more do you want? But watch, somebody is going to try to fill that void and those shoes.”
On Sunday, Evans praised the convictions as the result of a coordinated effort of federal and state law enforcement. He also extended thanks to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for investigation assistance.
Staggers and London were part of eight men linked to major drug trafficking locally in June 2016.
Authorities said search warrants executed Feb. 25, 2016, at two residences used by Session resulted in the seizure of two AK-style rifles, approximately $10,000 in cash and a half kilogram of cocaine.
A search warrant executed the same day at Staggers’ residence resulted in the seizure of an AR-15 rifle, a half-kilogram of heroin and more than $400,000 in cash.
Tregre said his deputies assisted for months with the investigation, adding the discovery of assault weapons in the suspects’ possession indicates a willingness by the group to operate violently.
He cited the teamwork of Louisiana and federal officers as a major reason these cases were made.
“Criminals couldn’t care less about parish lines,” he said in 2016. “Guys like this couldn’t care less about what jurisdiction you’re in. In my years in law enforcement, this is the best networking we’ve had. I feel I can call anytime we need resources.”
Tregre said the partner agencies in this case were willing to bring their resources to St. John within a day’s notice.
“I don’t think we have ever really had that kind of relationship with our state and federal partners before,” Tregre said. “It has to (continue). I hope it does. We would all benefit from working together like that. That’s what it is going to take.”
On Monday, Tregre said the fruits of these collaborations are going to lead to more arrests and convictions in the near future.