The second of three Chalmette men accused in a drug and weapons conspiracy that involved an alleged plot to kill a confidential informant pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in New Orleans.
Thomas Marold, 52, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to possess heroin with the intent to distribute it.
In a "factual basis," Marold admitted he received heroin from co-defendant Keith Foster in exchange for mechanical work and pain pills, and that he drove Foster around to complete drug deals.
One of those drives, on Oct. 22, 2015, ended with both men arrested in a traffic stop by St. Bernard Parish sheriff's deputies as the two men were headed to deliver heroin to a man who turned out to be an informant.
While in jail, Foster told Marold he knew the informant had set him up and that he would "take care of it," according to Marold's factual basis.
In jail phone calls, Foster enlisted a friend, Kermeric Johnson, to collect money owed to Foster and to carry out the hit, prosecutors allege.
Marold admitted he spoke with the would-be hit man by phone and that it was "Johnson's intention to attempt to kill the (informant)."
Based on the threat, St. Bernard Parish deputies secured a warrant for Johnson's arrest and spotted him walking out of his home with two items wrapped in blankets and placing them in the trunk of his car, court documents show.
The deputies stopped him on St. Claude Avenue in Arabi and arrested him on the warrant. In the trunk, they found a .22 caliber rifle in one blanket and a 9mm semi-automatic handgun in the other. Both weapons belonged to Foster, according to Johnson's factual basis.
Johnson, 33, who received a 10-year sentence in 2006 after pleading guilty to manslaughter in Orleans Parish, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
He faces a maximum 20-year sentence.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk set a June 29 sentencing date for Johnson and an Aug. 24 sentencing date for Marold.
Foster, 37, is slated to enter a guilty plea on Tuesday, court records show.
The three men were named together in a six-count federal indictment issued in November.