New Orleans resident pleads guilty to laundering more than $118,00 of her partner’s heroin proceeds
Published 10:11 am Tuesday, September 21, 2021
NEW ORLEANS, LA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Annice Falkins, age 35, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty on August 24, 2021 to laundering more than $118,000 of her partner’s heroin proceeds by purchasing a home in New Orleans East that they then shared. Falkins is facing up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a possible fine of up to $250,000 and at least three years of supervised release upon her release from prison for violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957(a).
Falkins’ partner, Arthur Johnson, is a heroin dealer. Johnson pled guilty to conspiring to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin and agreed to forfeit six pieces of diamond encrusted jewelry, including a Rolex watch, purchased with drug proceeds. According to court records, on April 6, 2016, Falkins purchased a home in New Orleans, with 14 cashier checks, all for less than $10,000. These 14 cashier checks totaled approximately $118,226.51. Falkins purchased these cashier checks with funds that she knew Johnson had earned from selling heroin. Falkins bought these cashier checks and then used them on April 6, 2016, with the intent to advance Johnson’s heroin activities. Falkins also conduced these transactions – the purchase of the cashier checks and the New Orleans property – in a knowing effort to conceal the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of some of the proceeds of Johnson’s heroin selling activities and to evade reporting requirements under federal and state law.
Pursuant to her guilty plea, Falkins agreed to forfeit to the United States a 2017 Mercedes Benz and real estate property in Davenport, Florida, which she bought after Johnson was arrested. The Mercedes and the Florida home were purchased with profits from Johnson’s heroin sales.
According to court records, on December 27, 2017, agents intercepted communications between Johnson and Ricky Redd, a Chicago-based drug courier. In these communications, Johnson and Redd discussed a pending delivery of heroin. Redd was driving that day from Chicago to New Orleans to give Johnson a bag containing approximately three kilograms of heroin.
Later that same day, surveillance agents observed Johnson and Redd twice meet at a Holiday Inn Hotel in New Orleans. During the first meeting, Redd gave Johnson a red bag containing approximately three kilograms of heroin. During the second meeting, Johnson gave Redd approximately $187,000. Redd was to earn a small amount of the money that Johnson paid him.
The next day, December 28, 2017, agents conducted a traffic stop of Johnson and Falkins. Johnson was placed under arrest and agents seized three brick chucks of heroin and eleven bags of heroin, totaling 1.3 kilograms, from Falkins and Johnson’s home in New Orleans East. Agents also seized from their residence a digital scale, six cell phones, over $11,000 in cash, a money counter, a kilogram press, two sealed GNC Inositol bottles, often used as “cutting agents” to dilute heroin, numerous items of jewelry, including diamond-encrusted necklaces and a diamond-encrusted Rolex watch, and numerous shipping labels with Falkins’ name and the New Orleans property address on boxes that contained plastic bags, electrical tape, and coffee grinds used to conceal narcotics.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan will sentence Falkins and Johnson on December 1, 2021. U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the FBI’s New Orleans Gang Task Force in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorneys David Howard Sinkman and Brandon Long are in charge of the prosecution.