Mississippi man among 22 indicted in Louisiana prison drug conspiracy

Published 4:28 pm Thursday, August 8, 2019

A former Louisiana prison guard from Mississippi was one of nearly two dozen former guards, inmates and others indicted this week on federal drug trafficking conspiracy charges.

Jeffery Day, a/k/a “JD,” “Ray” and “Ray Ray,” age 34 of Centreville, Mississippi, a former correctional officer at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Day was arrested in July 2018 after Louisiana corrections officials say they caught him trying to smuggle marijuana and synthetic marijuana into the prison, hidden inside a Subway sandwich.

He reportedly admitted to that crime and resigned from his position immediately. It’s not clear whether that incident was directly connected to the large-scale operation federal prosecutors say they have uncovered or not.

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced this week the unsealing of a federal grand jury indictment charging 22 defendants in Operation Jellystone, an extensive federal, state, and local investigation aimed at dismantling a large-scale cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine trafficking network based at Angola.

The drug network reportedly had suppliers in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and Colton, California.

“This indictment disrupts a drug distribution conspiracy which brought significant amounts of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine into our district,” Fremin said. “Those charged include inmates at Angola serving either life or other significant terms of imprisonment, former Angola guards, and drug suppliers from California.”

The drugs were reportedly smuggled into Angola for distribution to dealers and users within Angola.

In addition to Day, the following people were indicted in the operation:

Arthur Basaldua, a/k/a/ “Yogi,” “Big Bro,” “Big Mex,” and “Mex,” age 41, an inmate at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; aiding and abetting unlawful travel in aid of a racketeering enterprise; and unlawful use of communication facilities.

Deanthony Ford, a/k/a D’Anthony Ford,” “D,” “Dee,” and “D Ant,” age 32, an inmate at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Nelson Tippen, age 39, an inmate at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Kevin Narcisse, age 34, an inmate at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; and unlawful use of communication facilities.

Dudley Melancon, a/k/a “Murder,” age 31, an inmate at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Joshua Gonzalez, a/k/a “Joshua Gonzales” and “Ro,” age 35, an inmate at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; and unlawful use of communication facilities.

Jared Graham, age 30, an inmate at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; and unlawful use of communication facilities.

Tommy Carter, Jr., a/k/a “TJ,” age 31, a former correctional officer at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

April Mathews, age 25, a former correctional officer at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Precious Shelvin, a/k/a “Precious Shelby,” age 33, a former correctional officer at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Tichina Williams, age 24, a former correctional officer at Angola, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Michael Augustine, age 39, of Erath, Louisiana, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and unlawful use of communication facilities.

Xavier Johnson, a/k/a “Ziggy” and “Zigg,” age 34, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.

Manuel Cadena, a/k/a “Joker,” age 38, of Colton, California, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Michael Cadena, a/k/a “Mikey,” age 29, of Hesperia, California, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Edgar Ochoa, a/k/a “Edgar Ochoa Contreras,” age 35, of Riverside, California, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Ismael Ochoa, a/k/a “Diablo” and “Ismael Contreras Ochoa,” age 32, of Riverside, California, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and unlawful travel in aid of a racketeering enterprise.

Quindale Smothers, age 23, of Lafayette, Louisiana, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Eryka Daniels, a/k/a “Mookie,” age 35, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Adrienne Capizzo, age 32, of Westwego, Louisiana, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and unlawful use of communication facilities.

Evelyn Valdes, a/k/a “Eve,” age 42, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

“We continue to crackdown and fight contraband in our prisons,” said Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary Jimmy Le Blanc. “We are appreciative of our partnership during this investigation with the U.S. Attorney, the FBI, and the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office, which resulted in the arrests and indictments of these individuals, particularly those who chose to betray the public’s trust.”

“This is not a reflection of the many hard working men and women in our Department who are dedicated to keeping our prisons and our public safe.”