California Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Narcotics, Money Laundering Charges

LegalImage by Mike Braun

PITTSBURGH, PA — A former resident of Stockton, California, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to violation of federal narcotics and money laundering laws related to a nine-month Title III wiretap investigation into drug trafficking in and around the counties of Jefferson, Clearfield, and Allegheny, United States Attorney Cindy Chung announced.

Juan Villagran, age 24, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possesses with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine before United States District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand. Villagran was one of 47 defendants charged in six related indictments as part of the Return to Sender investigation.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Villagran supplied at least 50 pounds of methamphetamine that was shipped from California and Nevada to Jefferson County, Clearfield County, and Allegheny County.

Judge Wiegand scheduled sentencing for Villagran on Dec. 7, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a sentence of not less than ten years to a maximum of life in prison, a fine not to exceed $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The court ordered that the defendant remain detained pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan D. Lusty and Michael R. Ball are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Services, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Police, and Pennsylvania State Police. Also assisting were the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office, and the Clarion Borough Police Department.

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