A Biloxi man faces up to 40 years in prison for his part in an extensive drug trafficking network that spread cocaine from Mississippi to Texas and California.
Donte Ladon “Tate” Evans, 43, admitted his role in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He pleaded guilty Wednesday in Jackson.
The charge accused Evans and seven others of conspiring to distribute cocaine in Hinds County and elsewhere from July 2015 until Feb. 8, 2017, the day of their indictment.
Evans was targeted in Operation Pipeline, a nationwide program that trains local, state and federal officers to be on the lookout for narcotics and other criminal activities in traffic stops.
The Operation discovered a drug distribution network in central Mississippi, Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent Thomas M. Annello.
HSI, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and other agencies learned the network stretched around the state and to California and Texas, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jackson. Investigators learned marijuana was also being distributed.
Evans became involved on Sept. 25, 2015, when a man brought him cocaine from Jackson to distribute, the indictment said.
Neither the court papers nor the press release from Anello show how much cocaine Evans distributed.
Evans was accused of distributing 500 grams (one-half of a kilo) or more. Distributing 500 to 4,999 grams of cocaine is punishable by five to 40 years in prison, according to federal drug trafficking penalties.
Evans also faces four years of probation and a maximum fine of $5 million.
Evans had been free on a $50,000 bond. He was taken into custody after his plea hearing, court records show.
U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate✔ will sentence him April 23.
Assisting in the investigation were the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Jackson Police Department and Hinds County Sheriff’s Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Chalk is prosecuting the case.