Hewitt Works To Toughen Louisiana Fentanyl Penalties

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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SLIDELL, LA. – Today, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Louisiana Senate Majority Leader Sharon Hewitt announced the introduction of SB49, a bill to enhance criminal penalties for operating a clandestine laboratory manufacturing fentanyl or carfentanil. These illegal drug labs, often run out of Louisiana homes, play a major role in the distribution of deadly fentanyl and carfentanil in our communities.


“Fentanyl is a poison that is killing far too many Louisianans,” said Hewitt. “We have to deter its distribution in our state. SB49 significantly increases prison sentences for distributors who operate illegal fentanyl and carfentanil labs. The criminals who spread this poison should face long prison sentences.”


SB49 enhances penalties for the creation or operation of a clandestine lab manufacturing any substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl or carfentanil. For a first conviction, a distributor would face 10-40 years imprisonment at hard labor, 10 of those years without the possibility of parole, and a fine of up to $50,000. A second conviction would result in a sentence of 30-40 years imprisonment, 10 of those years without the possibility of parole, and fine of up to $500,000. A third conviction would result in a mandatory sentence of 99 years imprisonment without the possibility of parole, along with a fine of up to $500,000.


The current penalty for the operation of any clandestine laboratory under Louisiana statutes is 5-15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.


At a Slidell press conference announcing the bill’s introduction, Hewitt was joined by St. Tammany law enforcement leaders, including 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery, St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston, and Major Danny Culpeper of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.


St. Tammany Parish alone had 140 deaths from fentanyl poisoning in 2022. Louisiana has one of the top drug overdose mortality rates in the nation.