Picayune Man Sentenced to Federal Prison in Drug Conspiracy Case

Published 11:18 am Friday, September 22, 2023

Justin Paul Berry, Jr., a 35-year-old resident of Picayune, has been sentenced to 52 months in federal prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley of the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the sentencing.

Berry was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Gulfport following an extensive investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking organization (DTO) based mainly in Picayune, MS. The investigation, which began in 2015, revealed Berry’s participation in the conspiracy dating back to 2018. Federal agents identified Berry’s role as facilitating the exchange of narcotics and currency on behalf of the DTO.

On June 21, 2023, Berry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, acknowledging his involvement in the illegal drug distribution network.

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The Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations thoroughly investigated the case, showcasing a collaborative effort between federal agencies to combat drug-related crimes. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica Rose led the prosecution of the case.

This particular case is part of the more considerable effort known as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF focuses on identifying, disrupting, and dismantling high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that pose a significant threat to the United States. The operation adopts a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, and multi-agency approach that leverages the collective strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the fight against criminal networks.