SHREVEPORT, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that former DeSoto Parish School Board member Bartholomew Claiborne, 25, of Mansfield, pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote to distributing cocaine.
Claiborne was indicted on September 4, 2012, for distributing
cocaine. According to the indictment, Claiborne was recorded to have
distributed cocaine on 14 separate occasions between October 11, 2011
and July 12, 2012. Authorities used surveillance methods to observe
Claiborne selling cocaine.
Claiborne faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million, or
both, with three years of supervised release on the count. Sentencing
has been set for May 21, 2013, at 11:30 a.m.
“As an elected official, Bartholomew Claiborne swore to uphold the
law, and by his own admission, failed to do so,” Finley stated. “He also
failed the children and parents of his school board district where he
served as a role model. We hope this case sends a message that public
officials are not above the law. We will continue to prosecute those who
violate federal laws. I thank all of the agencies on a federal, state,
and local level who participated in the investigation.”
Claiborne was the first indictment as part of the Organized Crime
Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Limpiar Casa. The Federal
Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the
DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Mansfield Police Department, and the
Tri-Parish Task Force which includes DeSoto, Sabine, and Red River
parishes, participate in the OCDETF program and conducted the operation.
The OCDETF program is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative
approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for
disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations,
targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations,
and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to
disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook is prosecuting the case.