Pair pleads to heroin smuggling scheme

NEW ORLEANS - A Nicaraguan man and a New York woman pleaded guilty to charges they conspired to smuggle heroin into the U.S. on a ship that docked in Louisiana.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office said the guilty pleas Wednesday by Ernesto Ramon Ali Valles, 41, and Aura Herodia Martinez, 37, are the result of a Department of Homeland Security probe.

Valles was a crewmember on a vessel that traveled from Columbia to Reserve, La., in April. Prosecutors said Martinez traveled from New York to New Orleans to pay for drugs that Valles hid under his clothing. Agents allegedly found 3 kilograms of heroin in Valles' shorts when they arrested him.

Both defendants face maximum sentences of life in prison.

3 N.O. men plead guilty in heroin case

NEW ORLEANS - Three New Orleans men pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said Mark Cleon Rogers, 43, Mark Tobias, 34, and Deshon Brimmer, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday to violations of the Federal Controlled Substances Act involving the trafficking of heroin.

Rogers, Tobias and Brimmer pleaded to conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin. Each defendant faces up to life in prison. The defendants also face an $8 million fine.

Rogers also faces an additional 10 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and an additional $250,000 fine.

U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown set sentencing for each for Feb. 2.

Bernice man booked on stalking charges

FARMERVILLE - Union Parish sheriff's deputies arrested a Bernice man in an alleged cyberstalking case.

Troy Jones is accused of leaving threatening messages and graphic sexual references as to what he would do to the victim.

The messages were left on a patient advocates' answering machine at LSU Health Sciences Center in Monroe.

Deputies said the message also contained threats to the victim's boyfriend, who he referred to as an FBI agent.

Jones was ordered to avoid all contact with the victim.

Deputy faces fraud, obstruction charges

MONROE - A Ouachita Parish deputy arrested earlier this month on numerous counts of computer fraud, identity theft and obstruction has been arraigned in federal court.

Maj. Michael Karl Davis, of Monroe, was arrested Oct. 6 by federal authorities on nine charges of computer fraud, nine charges of identity theft and one count of obstruction.

Davis's attorney, Charles Kincade, said Davis entered a plea of not guilty on all counts alleged against him on Thursday.

At the time of Davis' arrest, Sheriff Royce Toney said Davis was innocent until proven guilty. Davis is still employed at the department.

Casino dealer, bettor admit rigging games

LAKE CHARLES - A former Lake Charles casino dealer and a former customer have pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the casino by rigging roulette games.

The former dealer, Derrick Weldon, 33, of Lake Charles, and the former customer, Constandi Lubbat, 54, of Houston, face a maximum of five years in prison following their guilty pleas Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Federal prosecutors said Weldon allowed Lubbat to place bets at the roulette wheels at L'Auberge du Lac Casino after the ball had fallen into the winning numbers.

Two other defendants were charged with participating in the plot, which cost the casino more than $1 million.

Man charged in plot to launder money

NEW ORLEANS - The owner of a Ponchatoula-based home elevation and shoring company and one of his employees have been charged with plotting to harbor illegal immigrants and launder money.

Thursday's federal indictment also charges Christopher Benson, 31, owner of Louisiana Home Elevations, and an employee, Adolfo Hernandez, 29, of conspiring to structure financial transactions to conceal the company's employment of illegal workers.

The company also is charged in the indictment and faces up to $2 million in fines if convicted. Benson and Hernandez, a Metairie resident, face prison sentences if convicted.

17-year-old indicted in death of his aunt

LAKE CHARLES - A Calcasieu Parish grand jury indicted a 17-year-old on one count of second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of his aunt.

Susan J. Doise, 40, was found dead in her Lake Charles home on Sept. 30. Authorities believe the teen, who lived with Doise and her family, is responsible for her death.

Deputy Chief of Police Mark Kraus said at the time of the incident that investigators believe there was a "conversation regarding teenager's performance at school" in the days leading up to the shooting.

Kraus said the cause of the death is still under investigation.

Compiled from The Associated Press