SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced that James Pittman, 41, and Jeffery Southern, 51, both from the Ruston, Louisiana, area have been sentenced by United States District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote for trafficking methamphetamine. Pittman was sentenced to 153 months (12 years, 9 months) in prison, and Southern was sentenced to150 months (12 years, 5 months) in prison. Both will be under supervised release for 5 years following their release from prison.
Law enforcement agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began an investigation into the trafficking of methamphetamine in the Ruston area. During their investigation, agents learned that Pittman and Southern were traveling together to Houston, Texas to obtain methamphetamine on February 18, 2022. Agents conducted surveillance of their vehicle and observed the men as they returned from Houston and traveled through Shreveport and Bossier City. A deputy with the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office observed the vehicle commit a traffic violation and conducted a stop of their vehicle. Pittman was identified as the driver and Southern as the passenger. Pittman admitted to the deputy that he had a warrant out of Webster Parish. The deputy confirmed that the warrant was valid and returned to the vehicle and asked Pittman to step out. While conducting a pat down of Pittman, Southern slid over into the driver’s seat and fled the scene. A back-up deputy gave chase and shot out the back tire of the vehicle as it fled. Southern was eventually stopped and taken into custody.
A search of the vehicle was conducted, and law enforcement officers found a duffel bag in the trunk containing 4.5 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana and other drug paraphernalia. In addition, officers found a black zippered bag which Southern had thrown from the vehicle when he fled. The bag contained methamphetamine which was sent to the DEA Southeast Laboratory for testing, and it was confirmed to be 1460.7 grams of pure methamphetamine. Southern and Pittman were charged in an indictment, and both pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
The case was investigated by the DEA, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, Ruston Police Department and Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tennille M. Gilreath.