LAFAYETTE — A federal grand jury has indicted 14 people in what prosecutors allege was a major methamphetamine ring that funneled drugs from Texas to south Louisiana.
“I think this case should majorly disrupt the flow of methamphetamine in this part of the state,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alec Van Hook said.
The 20-count indictment, unsealed Wednesday, is the result of a more than year-long investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies in Acadiana.
Prosecutors say methamphetamine was purchased in large quantities in Texas and then distributed throughout southwest Louisiana, mainly Lafayette and New Iberia, over several months in 2014.
Van Hook declined to discuss the total quantity of drugs believed to have been sold by the ring, but he characterized it as “significant.”
Agents also seized $5,400 in suspected drug proceeds, a pickup and several firearms, according to information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Joseph Shepherd said the case highlights a shift in recent years in the production and distribution of methamphetamine, which has moved from small-scale local operations to highly organized interstate networks.
The case also is further evidence that methamphetamine is now firmly established in the drug culture of south Louisiana, said Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, whose agency helped in the investigation.
“At one time, the meth problem was really up in the mountain states,” Ackal said.
Now, Ackal said, his deputies are routinely dealing with the drug.
“We fight that on a daily basis,” he said.
Indicted on various drug-related charges in the case are:
Gary Hunt, 58, of Spendora, Texas; Elliot Jolet, 34, of New Iberia; Anita Desormeaux, 42, of New Iberia; Ko Chanhkongshinh, 37, of Youngsville; Jenee Lynn Hargrave, 29, of Scott; David Lowery, 32, of New Iberia; Everette Dupuis, 39, of New Iberia; Michael Guidry, 44, of Erath; Tyrone Howard, 42, of Youngsville; Kevin Jefferson, 31, of New Iberia; Nared Souphannavong, 29, of New Iberia; Brandi Boullion, 27, of New Iberia; Dewey Migues, 35, of New Iberia; and Corey Freyou, 37, of New Iberia.
Twelve of the 14 people charged in the indictment had been arrested as of Wednesday afternoon, but authorities were still searching for Dupuis and Hargrave.