For Immediate Release
Lake Station Man Sentenced to 36 Years in Prison
For Drug Conspiracy and Causing Death During the Drug Conspiracy
HAMMOND-Lajuan Fitzpatrick, 29, of Lake Station, Indiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon to 36 years in prison following his conviction at trial in November 2019 of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and discharging a firearm causing death during this drug trafficking crime, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Gary T. Bell.
The evidence at trial showed that on December 2, 2013, in Gary, Indiana, Fitzpatrick and his co-conspirators attempted to rob individuals they believed were marijuana dealers. The co-conspirators intended to resell the marijuana. Fitzpatrick fired his gun as gunfire broke out during the course of the attempted robbery. Ronaldo Correa, Jr., 22, who was coming to the aid of his victim neighbors, was shot to death.
“This investigation is an excellent example of the importance of partnership among law enforcement in holding dangerous criminals accountable,” remarked ATF Special Agent in Charge Kristen de Tineo of the Chicago Field Division. “ATF is committed to working alongside our partners to keep our communities safe.”
“Dealing drugs and violence go hand-in-hand and this sentence means this individual will no longer be able to bring more harm to our Hoosier communities,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan. “Working in collaboration with our partners we will continue to work to identify the worst of the worst and ensure they are held accountable for their actions.”
This prosecution was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
This case is the result of the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, East Chicago Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gary Police Department, Hammond Police Department, Lake County, Indiana, Sheriff’s Department and Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area officers and agents. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David J. Nozick and Caitlin M. Padula.