BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One member of a dog fighting and drug trafficking ring has now pleaded guilty, United States Attorney Brandon Fremin announced Thursday.
The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) has been investigating a drug trafficking network based out of Baton Rouge operating in Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi. During the investigation, an illegal dog fighting operation was also reportedly discovered. Numerous individuals have been charged for trafficking drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, as well as for violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act.
On Thursday, August 9, Corey Brown, 31, aka "Black," of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty for his role is the drug trafficking ring. Brown pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute heroin (46.5 g), cocaine (28.5 g), and marijuana (28.35 g).
- Possession with the intent to distribute heroin
- Violation of Federal Animal Welfare Act
Several other members of the group pleaded guilty earlier in the year. They include:
- Eric Lashawn Williams, 35, aka "E" or "EZ"
- Marco Murphy, 34, aka "Big Daddy"
- Ed Williams Jr., 31, aka "Cooter"
The above individuals pleaded guilty to numerous drug and weapon charges, as well as animal cruelty charges. Each defendant faces significant jail time.
Officials with the Department of Justice say Williams and Brown were the leaders of the drug trafficking ring, which was responsible for the distribution of cocaine, marijuana, and heroin in the Valley Park neighborhood in Baton Rouge. Murphy and Williams Jr. were distributors.
Williams and Brown were also involved in the illegal dog fighting operation. Law enforcement intercepted numerous phone calls regarding the dog fighting in Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi. The conversations contained information about future fights, the stakes, wagers on upcoming fights, as well as information about the breeding, sale, and training of dogs for the fights.
On August 24, 2017, agents searched two homes in Baton Rouge and seized 13 pit bulls that were involved in the dog fighting activities. The dogs belonged to Williams and five were found at Brown's home.
"The good people of Valley Park don't deserve, nor do they want, people like these defendants in their neighborhood selling drugs and using the proceeds to fight dogs for sport. We are glad to bring this organization to justice. This is yet another victory in the fight to rid our streets of wrongdoers," Fremin said.