New Orleans man pleads guilty to conspiracy to distribute drugs and possession of firearm

Published 6:41 am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

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NEW ORLEANS –  U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Nathan Ballansaw III, age 69, of New Orleans, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, cocaine base and heroin, and firearms-related charges.

Specifically, on June 24, 2021, Ballansaw pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine hydrochloride, cocaine base, and heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846.  Ballansaw also pled guilty to one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

On the drug conspiracy, Ballansaw faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000, at least 3 years of supervised release and a mandatory $100 special assessment.  On the firearm charge, Ballansaw faces a mandatory minimum of 5 years of imprisonment, up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, up to 5 years of supervised release, and a mandatory $100 special assessment.

According to court documents, Ballansaw conspired to sell cocaine, cocaine base and heroin between September 12, 2015 and May 4, 2017.  In furtherance of that drug-trafficking conspiracy, he possessed a Smith and Wesson Model 638-2 .38 caliber revolver on March 28, 2017.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter.  Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Privitera and Jonathan L. Shih are in charge of the prosecution.

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”). OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.