A convicted drug dealer charged but never found guilty in separate murder and attempted-murder cases in the 1990s is now back in jail after a patrol officer found him with two guns this weekend during a traffic stop in the Milan neighborhood, police said.
Shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, a member of the NOPD task force assigned to the Milan neighborhood stopped a vehicle at the corner of Delachaise and South Saratoga and smelled marijuana when he approached its window, said Lt. Mike Montalbano of the NOPD Second District investigative unit. When the officer asked the driver to step outside the car, the driver ran off, throwing away a gun as he ran, Montalbano said. The officer caught up to him, arrested him and then found a second gun inside the car, and the driver, identified as 35-year-old Cleveland M. Alfred, claimed ownership of both firearms, Montalbano said.
Alfred is charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a stolen firearm, flight from an officer, expired license plate, suspended driver’s license and no insurance, according to booking records at the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office.
Possession of a gun by a felon carries a minimum 10-year sentence, and the aggressive use of this charge to jail repeat offenders has been a centerpiece of the city’s recent crime-fighting efforts. The NOPD Second District, which covers much of Uptown New Orleans from Louisiana Avenue to Jefferson Parish, has made 31 gun arrests so far this year versus 10 at the same time last year, but responded to only eight armed robberies, 10 less than last year, Second District commanders have noted at last week’s Comstat meeting.
“I like to believe there’s a correlation between the number of gun arrests and the number of armed robberies,” Montalbano said at a meeting earlier this month.
Alfred’s criminal history dates back nearly 15 years, according to court records at the sheriff’s website. He was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute in August 1996. In September of 1996, he was arrested and subsequently indicted on a charge of first-degree murder, the records show. In April of 1997, he was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to the cocaine charge, but the murder charge was dropped, the records show.
In 1999, Alfred was charged with attempted second-degree murder in a case that newspaper accounts from the time indicate involved a gunfight on Martin Luther King Boulevard that accidentally wounded a 3-year-old boy, the records show. That case was dropped in early 2000, court records show.
Alfred is also a registered sex offender based on a 2004 conviction in Georgia for “aggravated assault with the intent to rape,” according to the city’s sex-offender registry.
The Milan neighborhood saw two homicides in March, including one about two blocks up Delachaise from the corner where Alfred was arrested. In response, Second District commanders have assigned their task forces to concentrate on the area in the last few weeks.