NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – EDMOND ARZATE, age 29, a resident of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to one year of probation by U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey after pleading guilty to a superseding bill of information charging him with making a false statement to a Special Agent of Homeland Security Investigations in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.
According to court documents, on October 12, 2017, a suspected drug trafficker informed a Homeland Security Investigations confidential source that a money courier would arrive in the Eastern District of Louisiana to collect funds for a previously conducted drug transaction. That evening, ARZATE contacted the source and instructed him to meet at a Waffle House in Mandeville, Louisiana. The source me with ARZATE and provided gave him with $30,000.00 in government funds as payment for the previously conducted drug transaction. ARZATE departed from the area but the Louisiana State Police conducted a traffic stop and obtained the money from his vehicle. A Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent and Louisiana State Police Trooper interviewed ARZATE regarding the money. ARZATE told the officers that he won the money playing poker at a Louisiana casino. When the officers asked if he had any receipts for the winnings, ARZATE changed his story and said he played “underground poker.” ARZATE then changed his story a second time and said he received the money from a “random guy” and provided no further information.
ARZATE faced a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a fine of up to $250,000.00 and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
This prosecution was part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security-Office of Homeland Security Investigations and the Louisiana State Police. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney André Jones.
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