Two Ruston men sentenced to combined 25 years, 2 months in prison for trafficking methamphetamine

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Generic police lights shot(WBTV/File)
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 3:00 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KNOE) - Two Ruston men have been sentenced to a combined 25 years and two months in prison for trafficking methamphetamine, according to a press release from United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown.

Law enforcement agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began an investigation into the trafficking of methamphetamine in the Ruston area. The investigation led agents to James Pittman, 41, and Jeffrey Southern, 51, both from Ruston.

Brown says Pittman and Southern were found to be traveling together to Houston, Tx. to get methamphetamine on Feb. 18, 2022. Surveillance was set on their vehicle and the men were observed returning from Houston and traveling through Shreveport and Bossier City.

The press release says the men were pulled over by a Webster Parish deputy after committing a traffic violation, where Pittman was the driver and Southern was the passenger. Pittman admitted to the deputy who pulled him over he had a warrant out of Webster Parish. The deputy confirmed the warrant and went back to the vehicle to ask Pittman to step out.

Southern slid into the driver’s seat as Pittman was pat down. Fleeing the scene, a deputy chased Southern and shot out the back tire of the vehicle as it fled. Southern was eventually stopped and taken into custody.

A search of the vehicle led officers to find a duffel bag in the trunk with 4.5 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana and other drug paraphernalia. The press release says officers also found a black zippered bag that Southern had thrown from the vehicle when he fled. The bag had methamphetamine which was sent to the DEA Southeast Laboratory for testing. There were 1,460.7 grams of pure methamphetamine in that zippered bag.

Southern and Pittman were charged in an indictment and both pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Pittman was sentenced to 153 months (12 years, 9 months) in prison, and Southern was sentenced to 150 months (12 years, 5 months) in prison. Both men will be under supervised release for five years following their release from prison.

The DEA, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, Ruston Police Department and Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tennille M. Gilreath prosecuted the case.