JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A Metairie man who was accused of selling heroin to an undercover informant in New Orleans during a multi-jurisdictional investigation that led to Jefferson Parish was convicted Thursday, January 19, of possessing and distributing the illegal narcotic and of illegally possessing four firearms.
Julius Hankton, 27, is guilty of possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of oxycodone, and four counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
A Jefferson Parish jury deliberated for 40 minutes before unanimously convicting him as charged of all counts. Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court set Hankton's sentencing for February 17.
The FBI New Orleans Violent Crime Task Force investigated Hankton beginning in 2014, using an undercover informant to purchase small quantities of heroin on four occasions, according to testimony. The task force comprises members of the FBI and local law enforcement agencies, including the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana State Police.
Hankton, who lived in New Orleans when the investigation began, moved into an apartment with his girlfriend in the 1600 block of Clearview Parkway. As such, task force members obtained a warrant from a Jefferson Parish magistrate commissioner to search the apartment.
About 6 a.m. on March 19, 2015, FBI SWAT members and sheriff's deputies served the warrant, surprising Hankton, his 4-year-old son, and his girlfriend as they slept.
During the search, agents reported they found more than 21 grams of heroin, eight tablets of oxycodone, and the firearms. They also seized more than $20,000 in cash.
Prosecutors say the firearms included a fully loaded 9mm pistol with extended magazine, which was set on a dresser; a 10mm pistol on the floor next to his bed; a .45-caliber pistol found in the dresser drawer; and a fully loaded AK-47 assault rifle in a duffle bag under the bed.
Hankton is barred from possessing firearms because of his prior convictions in New Orleans of aggravated battery, possession of cocaine, carrying a firearm while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and illegal possession of stolen firearms.
Hankton, who did not testify, denied the crimes. His attorneys argued there was no evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the drugs and guns belonged to him.