News release: U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of La.

Statement released from of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana:

Eleven defendants were indicted on drug trafficking charges related to the organized distribution of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine in the Winn Parish and Shreveport, Louisiana areas, United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today.

Five of the defendants, including Winn Parish Sheriff Albert Little, will appear today in United States District Court in Shreveport for an initial appearance after being arrested today. Three defendants are already in custody after being arrested on June 23rd on related charges.

One of the defendants is in custody on unrelated state charges. Two of the defendants are still at large. The indictment, unsealed today, is the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force which is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking, and in this case involved the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Louisiana State Police, Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, Shreveport Police Department and the Bossier City Police Department.

If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years incarceration, a maximum penalty of life in prison, and fine of up to $10,000,000 on counts involving Conspiracy or Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Counts involving Page 1 of 2 Possession with Intent to Distribute of more than 5 grams of methamphetamine carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison, a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.000. The Possession with Intent to Distribution of methamphetamine counts carry a maximum sentence of 20 years and a fine up to $2,000.000. The charge of Use of a Communication Facility to facilitate a drug offence carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

A criminal indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph G. Jarzabek.