Jefferson Parish Felon Pleads Guilty as Charged to Federal Drug Trafficking and Firearms Offenses

Published 7:35 am Friday, June 17, 2022

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NEW ORLEANS, LA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that JOSEPH WOODS, age 31, of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty as charged to a three-count indictment. Count 1 charged the defendant with possession with intent to distribute controlled substances in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C); Count 2 charged him with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(i); and Count 3 charged him with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2).

According to court documents, WOODS was previously convicted of drug trafficking, among other felony firearm and drug offenses in Jefferson Parish. Due to these convictions, it is unlawful for him to possess a firearm. He is now convicted of possessing multiple firearms and possessing with the intent to distribute cocaine, cocaine base (“crack”), and heroin. On October 4, 2020, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle in which WOODS was a passenger in Westwego, Louisiana.  The officers observed two camouflage bags inside the vehicle before the driver drove off at a high rate of speed.  The officers observed as the bags were thrown the side of the road.  The bags were later recovered and additional evidence consistent with drug trafficking was found in the center console of the vehicle.

For Count 1 of the indictment, WOODS faces a maximum term of twenty (20) years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and a minimum of three (3) years of supervised release. For Count 2, he faces a minimum term of five (5) years up to a maximum term of life imprisonment to run consecutive to all other sentences, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and up to five (5) years of supervised release. For Count 3, he faces a maximum of ten (10) years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and up to three (3) years of supervised release.  WOODS faces a $100.00 mandatory special assessment fee per count.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The case was investigated by the Westwego Police department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles D. Strauss is in charge of the prosec