Two Lake Charles defendants were sentenced this week for kidnapping a Texas man after a failed drug deal, according to U.S. Attorney David Joseph's office.
Justin Fry, 35, was sentenced to 292 months in prison, and James Coleman, 34, was sentenced to 242 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter for interstate kidnapping.
The defendants, both of Lake Charles, were also sentenced to five years of supervised release.
According to the guilty pleas, the defendants traveled to Liberty, Texas, on April 6, 2016 to buy methamphetamine from a contact. In order to complete the sale, the contact rode with the defendants to Houston on April 8, 2018 to meet a second contact who had the methamphetamine. Instead of selling the drugs, the Houston contact robbed the defendants, and the contact from Liberty left with him. Fry and Coleman followed them until they saw the Liberty man jump out of the moving car, at which time they retrieved the bloodied victim, duct taped his hands and covered his eyes. The defendants later beat and threatened to kill him in an attempt to force him to pay back the $1,300. After making several phone calls, the victim was unable to get the money. The defendants then decided to drive back to Louisiana, stopped at a gas station in Beaumont where they placed the victim in the trunk, and then drove on to a Vinton, Louisiana, casino where he escaped and called law enforcement. The defendants’ cell phones were searched and conversations about the drug deal were found in addition to videos of the beatings.
“This case is an example of the violence that results from illegal drug deals,” Joseph stated. “Thankfully no one was killed in this incident, but it demonstrates that drug trafficking often leads to all manner of violence. I want to thank the law enforcment agents who saved the victim in this case and brought the defendants to justice.”
“Methamphetamine is a highly addictive plague that routinely inflicts dramatic health and safety consequences upon communities where it’s introduced,” said Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations New Orleans Jere T. Miles. “This case clearly illustrates the violence that often permeates illegal drug trafficking, and today’s sentencing is a testament to the excellent working relationship between HSI and its local law enforcement partners to protect the public from these violent criminal networks and the lawlessness they spread.” Sarah Paxton, 25, of Lake Charles, was also charged with kidnapping. Her sentencing date is scheduled for December 17, 2018. Homeland Security Investigations and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker prosecuted the case.