SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The United States Attorneys’ office for Louisiana’s Western District announced the conviction of two Ruston men arrested in Shreveport and charged with trafficking methamphetamine.

According to USA Brandon B. Brown’s office, 41-year-old James Pittman and 51-year-old Jeffery Southern of Ruston were arrested after the United States Drug Enforcement Agency started investigating meth trafficking in the Ruston area.

Investigators learned that Pittman and Southern traveled to Houston, Texas, together to obtain meth on February 18, 2022.

Law enforcement had surveillance of the suspect vehicle and observed the men as they returned from Texas, traveling through Shreveport and Bossier City.

The vehicle was seen committing a traffic violation by a Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputy, and a traffic stop was conducted.

When approached by the Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputy Pittman, the driver of the car, admitted that he had a warrant out of Webster Parish, which the deputy confirmed. The deputy did a pat down search of Pittman; Southern slid from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat and fled in the vehicle.

A backup deputy chased Southern and shot the back tire of the car as it fled. Southern was eventually stopped and arrested.

When officers searched the vehicle, they found a duffel bag in the trunk with 4.5 grams of meth, marijuana, and other drug paraphernalia. Additionally, officers found a black zipped bag that was thrown from the car by Southern when he fled.

The bag’s contents were tested and confirmed to be 1460.7 grams of methamphetamine.

Southern and Pittman were charged, and both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Pittman was sentenced to 153 months (12 years, 9 months) in prison, and Southern was sentenced to 150 months (12 years, 5 months). Both will be under supervised release for 5 years following their release from prison.