A man found guilty of possession of cocaine after a drug deal in the Carrollton area now faces up to 10 years in prison without parole or probation if he is sentenced as a habitual offender, according to the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office.
Brandon A. Cooks Sr., 22, was originally charged with distribution of cocaine after his April arrest in the block of Hickory Street next to Johnson Elementary and the site of a deadly shooting just last week, but was found guilty Nov. 29 of the lesser charge of possession by Judge Frank Marullo, according to a news release from the district attorney’s office. On Friday, a hearing on Cooks’ habitual-offender status was set for Jan. 9, according to court records.
The full text of the district attorney’s news release is below:
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office obtained the conviction of Brandon Cooks, 22, Tuesday. The defendant was charged with distribution of cocaine, but Judge Frank Marullo found the defendant guilty of possession of cocaine.
Police on proactive patrol in the 8800 block of Hickory Street observed the defendant engaged in a hand-to-hand transaction with a buyer. Police stopped both individuals. The defendant was found in possession of $12, and the buyer was found in possession of a rock of crack cocaine. At the time of arrest, the buyer admitted to buying the cocaine from the defendant.
The District Attorney’s office charged the defendant with distribution of cocaine and charged the buyer with possession. However, the buyer is presently at-large.
In December of 2010, the District Attorney’s office convicted the defendant of possession of Alprazolam, but Judge Arthur Hunter gave him a suspended sentence.
Assistant District Attorneys Lynn Schiffman and Tom Sanderson prosecuted the case.
In response to the conviction, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said, “The trafficking of illegal narcotics is exacerbating the city’s unnaturally high murder rate. If they are unwilling to take responsibility for their criminal behavior, then I will not hesitate to prosecute dope dealers to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore, I will use every tool in our arsenal to take them off the streets for as long as the law will allow.”
The defendant will be sentenced on Friday. [Update: the hearing was postponed until Jan. 9, court records show] At that time, the District Attorney’s Office will file a Multiple Bill and seek to have the defendant sentenced as a second time offender. Pursuant to the terms of the Habitual Offender Statute, the defendant would face a sentence ranging from 30 months to 10 years, which must be served without benefit of probation, parole, suspension of sentence, or reduction for good time.