California man pleads guilty to conspiracy to distribute about two pounds od methamphetamine in a case started by the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office

Posted: April 15th, 2015 | Filed under: News Releases

Leonid Djuga of California, who pleaded guilty in federal court in a large meth case started by the St. Bernard Sheriff's Office.

Leonid Djuga of California, who pleaded guilty in federal court in a large meth case started by the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office.

In an investigation started by the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, Leonid Djuga, a/k/a Leonid Dzhuga, 37, of Reseda, California, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, which was about two pounds, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced.

in June 2014, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office (SBSO) deputies investigating methamphetamine distribution in Arabi, arrested two men who were selling methamphetamine on West Judge Perez Drive. Through their investigation, deputies learned that their source of methamphetamine was Djuga, a resident of Reseda, California.

SBSO narcotics agents coordinated with agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Orleans Field Office, and between June 26th and 27th, 2014, federal agents and SBSO deputies intercepted four packages containing methamphetamine being mailed through Federal Express to Arabi. In total, the packages contained more than one kilogram of methamphetamine, or more than two pounds.

According to DEA laboratory analysts, the methamphetamine in all four packages had a purity level of over 99%, with one shipment testing as 100% pure methamphetamine.

On July 15, 2014, DEA agents assisted by Los Angeles Police Department officers and a St. Bernard Parish sheriff deputy arrested Djuga at his residence in Reseda, California, pursuant to a federal arrest warrant. At the residence, agent also executed a search warrant and located plastic bottles similar to ones used to package the methamphetamine that was seized in Louisiana.

Agents also seized from Djuga’s office a notebook that appeared to be a drug ledger; a receipt for a package being shipped to Arabi and three cellular telephones. Agents also located a BMW that was registered to thesuspect.. In the trunk of the car, agents found a box cutter with residue. The residue was field tested which resulted in a presumptive positive result for the presence of methamphetamine.

A subsequent search of Djuga’s cellular phones pursuant to a warrant revealed text messages discussing shipments of packages to Louisiana and a photograph of a FedEx tracking label destined for Louisiana.

Djuga faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, a $10 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for July 23, 2015.

The case was investigated by the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistance was provided by the District Attorney’s Office for Louisiana’s 34th Judicial District, the DEA Los Angeles Field Office, and the Los Angeles Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Payne and Brandon Long handled the prosecution.