Nine members of drug distribution ring get combined 35 years’ sentence in federal court

Louisiana News

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KLFY) — Nine players in a drug distribution ring in Calcasieu and Beauregard parishes received a combined 35 years behind bars after being convicted in federal court.

The drug ring included methamphetamines and cocaine distribution. Sentences for the nine convicts were handed down on two occasions.

On January 27, 2020:

  • Antonio Montero, 57, a Cuban national, of Lake Charles, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty on September 24, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine
  • Felix Perez, 56, a citizen of Cuba, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty on September 25, 2019, to one count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances (cocaine)
  • Lionel Peschier, 49, of Sulphur, Louisiana, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty on September 24, 2019, to one count of attempted distribution of controlled substances (methamphetamine).

On December 16, 2019:

  • Julio Elizagarate, 68, a Cuban national, of Lake Charles, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty on September 5, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine
  • Michael Miers, 57, of DeRidder, Louisiana, was sentenced to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty on February 13, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine
  • Zetherneal Elizagarate, 57, of Lake Charles, was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty on April 3, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine
  • Juan Gonzalez, 67, a Cuban national, of Leesville, Louisiana, was sentenced to 71 months in prison after pleading guilty on July 3, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine
  • Gary S. Byrd, 48, was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty on August 15, 2019, to one count of distribution of controlled substances (methamphetamine)
  • Angie Perez, 49, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty on September 13, 2019, to one count of distribution of controlled substances (methamphetamine).

U.S. Attorney David Joseph said the arrests came after coordinated efforts from June 2017 through May 2018 as law enforcement agents used wiretaps and controlled purchases to investigate.

Montero and three other Cuban nationals who were dealing large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine in southwest Louisiana. Law enforcement officers learned of multiple stash houses and identified Montero and Gonzalez as suppliers of methamphetamine, while Miers supplied of multiple kilos of cocaine. Five search warrants were executed and agents seized multiple kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine.

When Miers was arrested at his residence on July 31, 2018, agents found $40,300 in cash proceeds from narcotics transactions, 5,343 grams of cocaine and 3,338 grams of methamphetamine. Miers admitted that he obtained the 3,338 grams of methamphetamine from Julio Elizagarate and Antonio Montero in trade for the same amount of cocaine.

Homeland Security Investigations, DEA, Louisiana State Police, Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, Combined Anti-Drug Task Force, Beauregard Sheriff’s Office, Lake Charles Police Department, Iowa Police Department, and DeRidder Police Department participated in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Abendroth is prosecuted the case.

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