(STL.News) – United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced that Arthur Lee Stewart, age 35, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession with intent to distribute heroin. As a result of his guilty plea, Stewart faces a significant term of imprisonment, a fine, and a period of supervised release.
According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, on December 3, 2018, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call at a convenience store on Elmer Avenue in Baton Rouge to investigate an allegation that an individual at the store was in possession of marijuana and a firearm. As deputies pulled up to the store in their marked unit, they observed two males standing in front of the store who appeared to be smoking marijuana. As one of the marked units was about to stop in front of the store, one of the two previously observed males, later identified as Stewart, attempted to flee on foot but was quickly apprehended by one of the deputies. After being advised of his Miranda rights, Stewart stated that he had marijuana in his pocket. During a search of Stewart, the deputy found a black digital scale, 5.81 grams of heroin wrapped in two separate clear packages, a prescription bottle with a partially torn label containing 15 pills of amphetamine salts, one clear package containing 1 gram of marijuana, and $210 in cash in his pant pockets.
Prior to possessing the firearm, Stewart was convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana in 2007 in East Baton Rouge Parish; conspiracy to introduce contraband into a state correctional institution in 2012 in East Baton Rouge Parish; and possession with intent to distribute codeine in 2012 in East Baton Rouge Parish.
U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin stated, “Distribution of heroin alone is a serious crime that endangers the citizens of Baton Rouge. The addition of a firearm to the equation increases the likelihood that one or more people, to include innocent bystanders, may end up being seriously wounded or killed in the crossfire. In this case, astute investigative work by East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputies led to a quick response to a dangerous situation that resulted in the apprehension of this defendant with no collateral consequence. I applaud the efforts and professionalism of our prosecutor and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.”
“The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office is grateful for the partnership we have with the U.S. Attorney and his dedication to prosecuting these cases on the federal level,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said. “We will continue to dedicate our personnel and resources to initiatives that ensure the safety of our community.”
This matter is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with critical assistance from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul Pugliese.