Baton Rouge man sentenced for gun, drug, and possession of contraband in prison

Published 6:27 am Friday, November 11, 2022

United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. announced that U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles sentenced Ashton Matta, age 33, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to 228 months in federal prison following his convictions for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession with the intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of contraband in prison. The Court further sentenced Matta to serve four years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment and ordered that the firearm involved be forfeited.

According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, on June 19, 2019, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana Probation and Parole searched Matta’s residence and vehicle. Inside the residence, 130.4 grams of fentanyl and $34,650 cash were found. Inside the vehicle, 459.l grams of heroin, 2.83 grams of fentanyl, a Zastava Serbia 7.62 caliber pistol, and a drum magazine with 70 live rounds of 7.62 ammunition were found. Matta admitted to possessing the items and to his involvement in the sale and purchase of illegal narcotics.   Prior to possessing the firearm, Matta was convicted in East Baton Rouge Parish in 2018 of attempted possession of oxycodone.

On June 11, 2021, while Matta was being held in the West Baton Rouge Parish Detention Center (“WBRDC”), a search was conducted by WBRDC personnel.  All inmates were escorted down the hall and each inmate walked through a walk-in metal detector. When Matta walked through the metal detector, the metal detector alerted. A black cellular telephone, with the words “Alcatel” on the back of the phone, was found in Matta’ possession. The black cellular telephone was a prohibited object that Matta was not allowed to possess in the WBRDC.

These matters were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshal’s Office, and were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy S.  Johnson.