LAFAYETTE, La. – Gabriel Hawthorne, 41, of Abbeville, Louisiana, was found guilty by a federal jury last week of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, specifically fentanyl, announced United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown. The trial, presided over by United States District Judge Robert R. Summerhays, lasted a week.
Court records revealed that Hawthorne conspired with two others, Frederick Malaki Thornton and Andrea Mitchell, to distribute heroin and fentanyl in the Abbeville area. In March 2022, an individual engaged in a series of phone calls and text messages with Mitchell, leading to an agreement for the sale of heroin. Mitchell coordinated the distribution with Thornton, her boyfriend at the time, and Hawthorne, her supplier. Hawthorne, who owned ZZ’s Kitchen in Abbeville, used the business to store the narcotics for sale. Mitchell confessed that Hawthorne would mix the heroin before providing it to her for distribution. Subsequent testing at the DEA Laboratory confirmed the presence of fentanyl in the seized heroin sold by Mitchell and Thornton.
Hawthorne now faces a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison, along with 3 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
Both Frederick Thornton and Andrea Mitchell previously pleaded guilty and are currently awaiting sentencing.