MONROE, La. – A 35-year old Monroe man who trafficked fentanyl and heroin in the Monroe area was sentenced July 30, 2020, for his crimes, announced Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook.
Anderson Curtel Duke was sentenced to 24 years in prison and 6 years supervised release by U.S. District Donald E. Walter after being convicted on two counts of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin following a three-day trial in February 2020. There is no parole in the federal system.
The United States presented evidence during trial showing that Duke was a high volume heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone dealer in the Monroe/West Monroe areas. In May 2018, the Monroe Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Metro Narcotics Unit and the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office began a joint investigation into the drug trafficking operation of Anderson Duke. During their investigation, law enforcement agents used physical and electronic surveillance, undercover purchases, and search warrants to confirm Duke’s drug activities. On June 19, 2018, agents decided to end their month-long investigation and arrested Duke.
Testimony at trial revealed that Duke knew the heroin he sold was stronger than normal and that he obtained the heroin and fentanyl from a source of supply in the Lafayette area. During a recorded interview, post-arrest, Duke stated when he touched the heroin with his bare hands, he would go to sleep and wake up without remembering what had happened. He also stated during the interview that on one occasion he had to perform what he described as “junkie tricks” on one of his customers to revive that customer after an overdose. At least five other people overdosed on the same batch of heroin.
The United States alleged that one of those customers suffered a lethal overdose. The jury found that the government did not prove this allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and acquitted Duke of this conduct. The jury also heard recordings that took place on multiple occasions between May and June 20189, related to Duke’s distribution of fentanyl and heroin. The government alleged that Duke sold these drugs to undercover sources on four occasions. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on these four counts of the indictment. However, the sentencing judge took this conduct into consideration at sentencing, which the law provides, by concluding that the government proved this conduct by a preponderance of the evidence.
When officers arrived to arrest Duke on June 19, 2018, he was entering a vehicle and attempted to flee from officers, eventually striking a police vehicle. At the time of his arrest, Duke was in possession of fentanyl, heroin, and $1,000 Duke received from a controlled fentanyl transaction performed earlier that morning that was organized by agents. Due to Duke’s prior serious felony drug convictions of distribution of OxyContin, possession of Alprazolam with intent to distribute, and attempted distribution of marijuana, the career offender provision of the United States Sentencing Guidelines allowed the court to sentence Duke to an enhanced sentence.
“This case has taken a dangerous drug dealer off the streets of Monroe and has stopped him from hurting more people,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Van Hook. “Fentanyl can be 50 times more potent than heroin – significantly increasing the risk for overdose – just a few grains can have deadly consequences. I want to thank the DEA, the Metro Narcotics Unit, and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office for their hard work investigating this case. I also want to thank the prosecutors and staff for their hard work conducting this trial professionally and effectively. We will continue to work closely with all of our law enforcement partners to disrupt drug traffickers and stop them in their tracks.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Metro Narcotics Unit, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Monroe Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Louisiana, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Anderson Thompson of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Office, Criminal Division.