Jury convicts Miami man in cocaine case

Deidre Cruse

An Iberville Parish jury deliberated for 20 minutes last Thursday returning a unanimous verdict of guilty against Miami man charged with possession of more than 46 pounds of cocaine, District Attorney Richard J. “Ricky” Ward Jr. reported.

District Judge Alvin Batiste Jr., who presided at the trial, set sentencing for Bernard Griffin, 37, for February 6.

Bernard faces a sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence, Ward said.

The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Patrol arrested Griffin in January 2007 after a traffic stop on I-10, the DA said. Ward said officers found 17 packages of cocaine weighing 46.3 pounds secreted in a non-factory storage compartment.

Assistant district attorneys Timothy Collins and Elizabeth Engolio prosecuted the case for Ward’s office. Bernard represented himself at the proceedings.

In other 18th Judicial District Court action last week, District Judge William C. Dupont sentenced two defendants to prison terms, and ordered probation for five others who entered guilty pleas.

Dupont sentenced DeShannon Osborne, 25, of 2224 Ory Drive, Bursly, to six years with the Louisiana Department of Corrections after he pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Horace Babineaux Jr., 33, of 58053 Chinn Street, Plaquemine, was sentenced to a year in prison for possession or introduction of contraband into a penal institution.

Those sentenced to probation included:

-- Keith Brown, 19, of 57725 Eli Craig Road, Plaquemine, five years, for felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

-- Neisha Lewis, 21, of 31870 LaCroix Street, White Castle, five years, plus restitution, for monetary instrument abuse.

-- Dianne Thompson, 53, five years, plus restitution, for monetary instrument abuse.

-- Alexain Gaines, 19, of 1369 California Avenue, Port Allen, three years for aggrevated assault with a firearm.

-- John J. Puckett II, age not listed, of 41375 Rue De Chene Blanc, Gonzales, two years for possession of cocaine.