(WAFB) - A Baker man has been sentenced to 21 years in prison resulting from a federal grand jury indictment against him and 38 others as part of Operation Third World, a long-running investigation by the Middle District Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Task Force, aimed at stopping violent drug trafficking operations in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.
On Wednesday, January 11, Myron Chevelle Hart, 39, of Baker was sentenced to serve 262 months (21 years) in prison and was ordered to forfeit $199,441 as proceeds for his offenses. Additionally, Hart was sentenced to 48 months for violating his federal supervised release, which was a result of his 2007 federal drug and firearm convictions. Hart will not be eligible for parole.
A federal grand jury indicted 38 others along with Hart on various narcotics and firearm charges. The indictment includes significant drug trafficking, racketeering, firearms, and conspiracy charges, including allegations of a murder plot, threats to use a hatchet to cut off fingers, and using a child to help transport 18 kilograms of cocaine.
To date, 34 of the defendants have been convicted and one has died. The remaining four defendants are set for trials. When the defendants were arrested, officials seized cocaine, a stolen AR-15, a shotgun, three handguns, and over $113,000 in cash believed to be drug proceeds. At an earlier time in the investigation, officials also seized six firearms and over $150,000 in cash.
Hart pleaded guilty on November 10, 2016, admitting that beginning in early 2013, he conspired with Kelly D. Williams, Charles C. London, C'Prien Nicholas, Sylvester Smith, Artey Foulcard, and others to obtain and distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine and crack cocaine for profit in the Baton Rouge area.
Officials say in addition to distributing cocaine and crack cocaine, Hart's role in the organization was that of an enforcer, using violence and threats to advance the group's aim. For example, court-authorized wire taps recorded several phone calls during which Hart and a co-conspirator planned to rob and kill someone because that person had spoken negatively about them. During another recorded conversation, Hart bragged to a different co-conspirator that he should watch the news the next morning because the killing was going to be a story.
After learning of the plan, law enforcement intervened and prevented the plan from being carried out.
The following defendants were previously sentenced as part of this operation:
- James Edward Allen, 33, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on Mar. 24, 2016 to 3 years in prison
- Dwan M. Delavallade, 39, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on Dec. 1, 2016 to 5.8 years in prison
- Devon D. Foster, 37, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on May 5, 2016 to 9 years in prison
- Gerry Earl Griffin, 45, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on June 16, 2016 to 1 year in prison
- Ashley H. Hebert, 27, of Thibodaux: Sentenced on June 16, 2016 to 2 years in prison
- Derrick D. Hilliard, 39, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on June 23, 2016 to 5 years in prison
- Kelvin Ronelle Johnson, 38, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on Aug. 4, 2016 to 5.8 years in prison
- Willie C. Lewis, 38, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on May 19, 2016 to 9 years in prison
- Charles C. London, 40, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on Sept. 8, 2016 to 26.6 years in prison
- Myron Derell Mills, 36, of Gonzales: Sentenced to April 7, 2016 to 15.2 years in prison
- Vernon A. Powell, 35, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on Jan. 12, 2017 to 8 years in prison
- Donald Sanders Jr., 39, of Gonzales: Sentenced on Nov. 3, 2016 to 7 years in prison
- Keeyon Mondrell Sanders, 34: Sentenced on Sept. 29, 2016 to 2 years in prison
- Eric O'Neal Selders, 44, of Independence: Sentenced on Sept. 29, 2016 to 13.75 years in prison
- Sylvester S. Smith, 37, of Houston, Texas: Sentenced on May 19, 2016 to 18 years in prison
- Gregory C. Walker, 53, of Donaldsonville: Sentenced on July 28, 2016 to 5.8 years in prison
- Jeremy James Washington, 37, of Donaldsonville: Sentenced on Dec. 19, 2016 to 5 years in prison
- Sekari Davis Washington, 38, of Zachary: Sentenced on June 30, 2016 to 1 year in prison
- Clarence White, 52, of Baton Rouge: Sentenced on Nov. 10, 2016 to 4.5 years in prison
"Today's severe sentence is a product of the tremendous efforts of the many federal, state, and local law enforcement agents, who, together with prosecutors in my office, worked seamlessly and tirelessly to put this violent group of thugs out of business. Together, we will continue to aggressively bring the fight to those who threaten the peace, safety, and security of our communities through violence and drug trafficking," said US Attorney Walk Green.
"The arrests and convictions made in this investigation are part of DEA's continuing effort to target the distribution of dangerous drugs at all levels. Illicit drug abuse and related criminal activity take a tremendous toll on our communities, including those in Baton Rouge. We will continue to work closely with our state and local law enforcement partners in order to enhance the quality of life for the citizens in this region," said DEA special agent-in-charge Brad L. Byerley.