Tangipahoa Parish Man Pleads Guilty to Violating the Federal Controlled Substances Act

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JAMES WATTS, age 50, a resident of Amite, Louisiana, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon yesterday to a one count superseding bill of information charging him with possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

According to court documents, on March 8, 2021, Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office deputies initiated a traffic stop on WATTS in Independence, Louisiana after they received a report that WATTS had assaulted a female victim.  Upon stopping WATTS, deputies saw drug paraphernalia in plain view in the rear passenger seat. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed 397 grams of methamphetamine.

During a subsequent interview with agents from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, WATTS acknowledged the methamphetamine found during the search of the vehicle was his.  He further admitted that he had sold approximately one pound of methamphetamine between March 6th and March 8th, 2021, and that he obtained two pounds of methamphetamine from his source of supply approximately every two weeks.

WATTS faces a mandatory minimum term of five years, up to forty years imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000,000, at least four years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee. 

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney J. Benjamin Myers.