An Avondale man who rejected a 10-year plea deal earlier this week saw a jury reject his claim of being framed by police on gun and weapons charges on Wednesday.
Westley Simmons told jurors that Jefferson Parish deputies framed him as payback for a 2007 crime in New Orleans, where he shot a rifle at a police officer, Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick’s office said Thursday.
“They put crack on me, heroin on me and a gun they got out the back,” he testified of his Nov. 15, 2014 arrest in an apartment in Harvey’s Tallow Tree neighborhood.
The jury deliberated about 3 1/2 hours and found Simmons guilty as charged of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of heroin, possession of tramadol without a prescription and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, Connick’s office said.
Simmons, 26, will be sentenced on June 17 by 24th Judicial District Court Judge Ray Steib. He faces 10 years to 20 years for the firearm charge, two to 30 years for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, four to 10 years for each of the cocaine and heroin possession counts and up to five years for the tramadol.
Simmons was arrested in an apartment in the 1100 block of Orange Blossom Lane after a license plate recognition camera picked up a stolen Ford Explorer and tracked it to the front of the building, Connick’s office said.
Police smelled marijuana and entered to find Simmons standing in the kitchen. He tried to run out of the back door but it was blocked by a security bar. He was found with a loaded semiautomatic pistol with a round in the chamber, heroin, crack and powder cocaine, and five tramadol pills. The deputies also found a digital scale and a cigar roller in his pockets, along with the key to the stolen vehicle.
Assistant District Attorneys Angad Ghai and Blair Constant prosecuted the case.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.