One of the owners of the now shuttered Desperado’s Cabaret in Carencro has been sentenced to 72 months in prison for racketeering conspiracy.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote gave 56-year-old James Panos of Broussard that sentence for one count of racketeering.  He also received two years of supervised release.

Panos agreed to forfeit illegal proceeds, 10 firearms seized during the raid of the club, the entire Desperado’s property.

Panos’ wife, Jennifer was given a 48 month sentence from the judge and two years of probation after her release.

In addition to those two being sentenced, two former employees at Desperado’s were each sentenced to probation.  Both 29-year-old Tanja Clavier of Church Point and 28-year-old Acquila Latique of New Iberia were given five years of probation.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley says,

“The defendants conspired to promote an environment of drug abuse and prostitution in our community without regard to the harm it caused. This office will continue to work to prosecute anyone who violates the law and damages our communities with these types of activities. I want to thank the law enforcement agencies for their hard work.”

These four are the last of the defendants in this case to be sentenced.

In May of last year, several people from the club were indicted after there was a raid at Desperado’s Cabaret on the Evangeline Thruway.

Officials say their investigation showed the club was a haven for drug trafficking, prostitution and other illegal activity.

Back in August, Desperado’s co-owner 70-year-old Dipak Vora of Baton Rouge along with five other people were sentenced for their part in the crimes at Desperado’s.

Vora got ten months, a year of supervised release, and was made to pay a $10,000 fine for “one count of interstate and foreign travel of transportation in aid of racketeering.

Another person, 44-year-old Gerald Cormier of Carencro received a sentence of 29 months in prison along with a year of supervised release. Cormier was convicted for distributing cocaine.

These other employees were also sentenced early this year:

  • Elias “E.J.” White, 53, of Lafayette, was sentenced to 54 months of probation
  • Heike Slattery, 42, of Carencro, was sentenced to two years of probation
  • Crystal Sampy, 32, of Lafayette, was sentenced to three years of probation and a $1,000 fine.
  • Lydia “Unique” Gauthreaux, 32, of Crowley, was sentenced to three years of probation and a $1,000 fine.

Finley says in all, ten people were convicted in the case and around $1.2 million in assets and proceeds were forfeited to the federal government.

Officials closed down Desperado’s on December 5, 2012 after the raid.

Several agencies were involved in the case:

  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation,
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations
  • Louisiana State Police
  • Lafayette Metro Narcotics

Two Assistant United States Attorneys, Myers Namie and Daniel McCoy, were the prosecutors who worked the case.