TERREBONNE PARISH, La. — A metro area drug operation netted 18 arrests and the confiscation of an estimated $1 million in street value drugs over a seven-month period, according to the Department of Justice.
Peter Strasser, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said one of the suspects was a Mexican citizen, but a legal U.S. resident, while the others were residents of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
According to Strasser, the arrests came primarily in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes as drugs coming from Mexico were put on the streets. The total operation spanned over the last two years and was dubbed "Operation Murder Gang Meltdown," according to Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's officials.
"These are all interrelated conspiracies, which involve the importation of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin from Mexico, and then distributing them in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes," said Strasser.
According to DOJ officials, 85 pounds of methamphetamine, 20 pounds of cocaine, an uncertain amount of heroin and 18 firearms were taken off the streets in a series of back-to-back raids in the area.
Officials named Earl Johnson as one of 18 people charged in nine indictments by Strasser. He was taken into custody Thursday in Schriever, Terrebonne Sherrif's officials said.
“I want these indictments to send a message,” said Strasser. “That message is to every individual out there who thinks he’s going to get into the business of pedaling poison, know this: We’re going to find you, we’re going to take you down, we’re going to take you to trial, if you’re convicted at trial you’ll be spending a good portion of your life in either federal or state prison.”
Those arrested include:
Kendall Mathews, 36, of Thibodaux
Earl Johnson, 39, of Thibodaux
Montrell Cleveland, 32, of Thibodaux
Dontrell Mathews, 40, of Thibodaux
Javante Coler, 25, of Thibodaux
Deondre Gramma, 26, of Thibodaux
Larry Chatman, 28, of Thibodaux
Hakeam Drane, 29, of Gray
Spencer Rounds, 29, of Gray
Michael Lewis, 33, of Edgard
Harris Henderson, 43, of Schriever
Rafael Molina, 43, of Texas
Gustavo Balderas, 32, of Texas
Michael Garza, 34, of Texas
Daniel Cabrera-Vergara Jr., 35 of Houma
Laranza Thomas, 28, of Houma
David Mar, 24, of Houma
Andrew Anderson, 38, of LaPlace