For Immediate Release
Member of Large Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 168 Months in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking
United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. announced the sentencing of Kim K. Murphy, age 57, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as part of Operation Hidden Fee, an extensive federal, state, and local investigation by the Middle District Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) aimed at a drug trafficking network based and operating in Baton Rouge.
Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick sentenced Murphy to 168 months in federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. Murphy must also serve three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.
According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, Murphy conspired with his co-defendant Travis James and others to obtain, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. Pursuant to court orders, federal law enforcement agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) intercepted communications occurring over the cellular phones used by James. During those court-authorized wiretaps, Murphy brokered multi-ounce transactions of cocaine and crack cocaine for customers. Murphy and James would then set up meetings in Port Allen and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where James delivered those amounts either to waiting customers or to Murphy, who then supplied his buyers.
On or about January 11, 2018, James and Murphy were traveling from Texas to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in different vehicles when each of them were stopped separately for traffic violations. During Murphy’s traffic stop, he gave unreliable answers to law enforcement’s questions. Law enforcement sought and received Murphy’s written consent to search the vehicle wherein a green duffel bag was found in the trunk containing several vacuum sealed bags containing suspected bricked cocaine. Murphy claimed ownership of said bag.
To date, nine members of this large-scale conspiracy have been prosecuted and convicted.
This investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration with invaluable assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Internal Revenue Service, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Baton Rouge City Police Department, and the Louisiana State Police. Other agencies also assisted in apprehending the defendants, including the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the Sheriffs’ Offices in Ascension, Iberville, and West Baton Rouge Parishes. These cases were prosecuted Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Piedrahita and Lyman E. Thornton III.
This prosecution is 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.