Baton Rouge drug trafficker sentenced to 14 years; Ascension, Iberville sheriff's offices assisted with investigation

Staff Report

A drug trafficker was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison as part of Operation Hidden Fee, an extensive investigation involving federal, state, and local agencies.

Kim K. Murphy, 57, of Baton Rouge, was sentenced following his conviction of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Gathe Jr. announced in a news release.

Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick's sentence included three years of supervised release following the 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 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, where James delivered those amounts either to waiting customers or to Murphy, who then supplied his buyers.

On or about Jan. 11, 2018, James and Murphy were traveling from Texas to Baton Rouge 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 the 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 assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, 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.