4 locals plead guilty to drug charges

Published 8:10 am Friday, July 10, 2015

Four men from Bogalusa pleaded guilty this week to drug charges at the federal district court in New Orleans.

Donald Fontenot, age 61, Joseph Pounds, age 47, Edgar Pounds, age 65, and Houston Cotton, age 67, each pled guilty Wednesday to multiple federal charges of selling Roxicodone 30 mg tablets to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite Jr.

Roxicodone is a branded formulation of oxycodone, a prescription-only Schedule II drug controlled substance and a highly addictive and abused semi-synthetic opioid.

According to court documents, the DEA conducted the undercover drug purchases as part of an investigation into reports of widespread illegal street sales of Roxicodone pills in and around Bogalusa. The investigation showed that Roxicodone 30 mg tablets were being sold by pill traffickers for approximately $25 to $30 per tablet. Agents further learned that many of these sellers were patients or close associates of patients of an unnamed clinic, an unregistered pain management clinic operating as a “pill mill,” dispensing Roxicodone prescriptions in exchange for cash outside the scope of professional medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. The clinic in question changed locations multiple times during the investigation, operating at times in the New Orleans area and in Kiln, Miss., and also changed names on paper, although no signage was ever posted outside the clinic stating the clinic’s name or otherwise indicating that a medical practice was operating therein.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt scheduled sentencing for Oct.14. Each defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment per count. Five other defendants are charged in the indictment, and trial is scheduled for July 27.

Polite praised the work of the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad in investigating this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael B. Redmann is in charge of the prosecution.