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Mexican citizen pleads guilty to transporting 10 lbs of methamphetamine and illegal possession of a firearm

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Martin Almeda-Pineda, age 37, of Mexico, pled guilty as charged on July 28, 2021 to a three-count indictment.  He was charged in Count 1 with possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)A);  Count 2 with possessing a firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking activities, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c); and charged in Count 3 with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(5)(A).  His sentencing is set for October 27, 2021 at 9:30 am before United States District Court Judge Jane Triche Milazzo.

He will face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a term of not less than 5 years of supervised release for Count 1; a consecutive sentence of five years to life in prison and not more than five years of supervised release for Count 2; and up to 10 years imprisonment and not more than 3 years of supervised release for Count 3.  He will also have to pay a total of $300.00 in mandatory special assessment costs.

According to the documents that were placed into the court record during his guilty plea, the defendant was arrested by St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Detectives after they conducted a lawful traffic stop of his vehicle and found 10 lbs. of methamphetamine in the back seat of his vehicle and a firearm in the center console. The detectives conducted the stop based off of information that they learned about the defendant from Special Agents with the Department of Homeland Security, who had knowledge that the defendant would be transporting a significant amount of drugs to the Eastern District of Louisiana.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Department of Homeland Security and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in working together to investigate this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Maurice E. Landrieu, Jr.