(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that, on August 20, 2020, U.S. District Mary Ann Vial Lemmon sentenced Derris Helton, age 37, of Marrero, Louisiana, to seventy-two (72) months’ imprisonment and (4) four years’ supervised release after pleading guilty to a one-count superseding bill of information charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute (500) five hundred grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride and twenty-eight grams or more of cocaine base (“crack”).
According to court documents, in 2016, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Orleans identified HELTON as a cocaine trafficker in the New Orleans area. Using a confidential source, agents made two controlled purchases of crack from HELTON totaling more than one hundred grams. Through telephone wiretaps, agents identified HELTON’S co-conspirators, including HELTON’S brother, Phillip, and Robert Gaines. During a monitored telephone call in July 2017, HELTON and his brother Phillip discussed having Gaines supply an individual with a quantity of drugs.
On August 1, 2017, agents learned through monitored telephone calls between HELTON and Gaines that HELTON was travelling from Houston, Texas to New Orleans via bus with a large quantity of cocaine. DEA agents and Louisiana State Police troopers stationed themselves at the Greyhound terminal in New Orleans awaiting HELTON’S arrival. When HELTON arrived at the terminal and exited the bus, agents and troopers approached HELTON. After HELTON consented to a search of his bag, agents found approximately 500 grams of cocaine hydrochloride in his bag.
U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Louisiana State Police in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney André Jones in was charge of the prosecution.