Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Narcotics Charges

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PITTSBURGH, PA — A Pennsylvania resident pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal narcotics laws, announced United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung.

Tony McKnight, 57, of New Castle, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty on December 19, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine from March of 2019 through September of 2020 before United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan. McKnight is one of thirteen defendants charged in the Indictment returned in this case.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began investigating a cocaine and fentanyl trafficking organization that operated throughout the United States, including Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico. Beginning in December of 2019 and continuing through August of 2020, the DEA received authorization to conduct a Title III wiretap investigation into the organization. McKnight, as a member of this multistate drug trafficking organization, was intercepted discussing acquiring and distributing cocaine throughout western Pennsylvania. In addition to the intercepted communications, agents seized cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, ecstasy, marijuana, firearms, and bulk United States Currency from members of the organization, including McKnight.

Judge Ranjan scheduled sentencing for May 15, 2023. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than five years to a maximum of 40 years of imprisonment, a fine not to exceed $5,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

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Assistant United States Attorney Mark V. Gurzo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The DEA in Pittsburgh, PA; the DEA, Columbus, OH; the DEA, Harrisburg, PA; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Pittsburgh, PA; HSI, Orlando, FL; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations; United States Postal Service, Columbus, Ohio; Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General; Lawrence County Drug Task Force – Special Investigations Unit; and New Castle Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of McKnight.

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