CRIME

Passing through Baton Rouge, drug network spanned from Los Angeles to Miami: U.S. Attorney

Staff Report

United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe Jr. announced the sentencing of a Baton Rouge man connected to a drug trafficking network that spanned from Compton, California, through Baton Rouge, to Miami, Florida.

According to a news release, 49-year-old Victor Welton was sentenced as part of Operation Going Bacc to Cali, an extensive federal, state, and local investigation by the Middle District Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick sentenced Welton to 235 months in federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over 2.6 pounds of fentanyl. Welton must also serve three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.  

According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, in or about June 2020, Welton agreed with co-conspirators in Baton Rouge, Compton and Miami to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl in the Middle District of Louisiana and elsewhere. Welton reportedly used other individuals to travel between California, Louisiana and Florida to transport fentanyl to a drug dealer in Miami.

According to the release, on June 21, 2020, Welton arranged for two of several individuals, whom he used to transport fentanyl between Compton, Baton Rouge, and Miami, to travel to Compton and pick up fentanyl. The two individuals traveled by air to California and, on June 22, 2020, began their return trip to Baton Rouge on June 24, 2020, using Greyhound Bus services.  

During the early morning hours of June 24, 2020, both couriers arrived at the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Baton Rouge. At that time, they were greeted by law enforcement with a search warrant for their persons and baggage.  

Law enforcement discovered and seized three zip lock bags with a white powdery substance. The contents of each of the bags were analyzed by the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory, with the contents of each identified as fentanyl, and with a total weight of slightly over 2.6 pounds. The two couriers were then arrested by law enforcement.

When explaining the reasons to support the 235-month term of imprisonment, Chief Judge Dick commented on the significant danger associated with fentanyl, along with Welton’s role as the leader of a drug-trafficking conspiracy that involved at least four other co-conspirators.