Houston Man Pleads Guilty to Gun and Drug Offenses
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that JAMES HATCH, age 49, of Houston, Texas, pled guilty today to one count of conspiring to traffic 500 grams or more of a mixture of methamphetamine and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
On the drug conspiracy, HATCH faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison, a maximum life sentence, a fine of up to $10,000,000 and at least five years of supervised release. On the firearm count, HATCH faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five (5) years in prison which must run consecutive to the term of imprisonment imposed under the drug conspiracy, a fine up to $250,000, and no more than 5 years of supervised release.
HATCH is one of eleven defendants charged in a 23-count federal indictment. Specifically, the indictment alleges that HATCH conspired to sell large quantities of methamphetamine with codefendants Stefen Daigle, Julien Polk, Peter Giandalone, Paul Melancon, Jeffrey Clines, Angel Renee Vidaure, Eulalio Torres-Cadenas, Delio Alfredo Lopez-Lopez, Lindsey Lopez, and Jacob Higginbotham.
The indictment also alleges a number of individual acts of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, as well as firearm offenses for codefendants HATCH, Vidaure, and Lopez-Lopez. Law enforcement developed evidence against this group of defendants using controlled purchases of methamphetamine, traffic stops and seizures, consensually recorded text messages and phone calls, search warrants, cooperator information, and self-incriminating statements.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan set sentencing for HATCH on March 6, 2019.
U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the United States Postal Inspection Service, Louisiana State Police, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Highway Patrol, Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, AMTRAK Police, and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Brandon S. Long is in charge of the prosecution.
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