Houma Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs and Firearms Offenses

Published 7:19 am Friday, July 15, 2022

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NEW ORLEANS –  U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that MORGAN BURL III, age 42, of Houma, Louisiana, pled guilty on July 13, 2022 to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.

Specifically, on July 13, 2022, BURL pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, 100 grams or more of heroin, 40 grams or more of fentanyl and 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846.  BURL also pled guilty to one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i).

According to court documents, BURL conspired with others to sell over 500 grams of cocaine, over 100 grams of heroin, over 40 grams of fentanyl, and over 5 grams of methamphetamine in the Eastern District of Louisiana.  In addition, on May 30, 2019, BURL possessed nine firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, specifically, (1) a Kel Tec semiautomatic pistol; (2) a AR-15 .22 caliber rifle; (3) a Taurus .45 caliber pistol; (4) a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson firearm; (5) a Jimenez 9mm semiautomatic firearm; (6) a Titan .25 caliber firearm; (7) a Norinco assault rifle; (8) a Sears & Roebuck 12 gauge shotgun; and (9) a 410 pump shotgun.

On the drug conspiracy count, BURL faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment up to 40 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000,000, at least 4 years of supervised release and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.  On the firearms offense, BURL faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years 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.

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.

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.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration in investigating this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan L. Shih is in charge of the prosecution.