Pittsburgh‑Area Brothers Sentenced To Prison For Leading Multi‑Kilo Marijuana Trafficking Organization
ROCK ISLAND, Il. ‑ Two Pittsburgh‑area brothers, Noah Adam Landfried, 26, and Ross Eugene Landfried, III, 28, both of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, have been sentenced to terms of life and 20 years, respectively, in federal prison, for having led a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of marijuana from Mexico to Pennsylvania along the Interstate‑80 corridor in Henry County, Illinois. U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm sentenced the brothers on July 30.
At sentencing, Judge Mihm found that the weight of the marijuana attributed to the brothers was approximately 2,400 kilograms and entered a final order of forfeiture for a personal money judgement in the amount of $1,000,000, holding the brothers jointly and severally liable. Both received enhancements to their respective sentences for being an organizer or leader of a criminal activity involving five or more participants or that was otherwise extensive. In addition, Ross Landfried received a sentencing enhancement for possessing a firearm during the commission of the offense.
On March 30, 2010, Noah and Ross, also known as "Tall," and "Old Boy," Landfried entered pleas of guilty to leading a large‑scale marijuana smuggling organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During plea hearings, the brothers admitted that proceeds from the sale of the marijuana was $1,000,000. Since at least 2002, the Landfried organization smuggled large quantities of marijuana from the Mexican border area to the Pittsburgh area using numerous couriers in privately‑owned automobiles and residences along the I‑80 corridor. From 2002 through 2009, the brothers, co‑defendants and others admitted they conspired to transport multi‑pound loads of marijuana from Arizona, through Henry County, Illinois, and ultimately to Pennsylvania, where it was distributed. On average, according to court documents, each load of marijuana was approximately 200 pounds.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rock Island, Illinois, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Youngstown, Ohio; the Pennsylvania Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, Butler Office; Illinois State Police; the Moon Township, Pennsylvania Police Department; the Columbiana County, Ohio Drug Task Force; the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania District Attorney's Office Drug Enforcement Team; the Henry County, Illinois State's Attorney's Office; and, U.S. Attorney's Offices in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Northern District of Ohio, Southern District of Iowa, and the Central District of Illinois. The case was prosecuted in the Central District of Illinois by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara L. Darrow.
Under the leadership of the Landfried brothers, couriers were recruited to transport marijuana from Arizona to Pennsylvania, and couriers were paid to transport cash from Pennsylvania for purchase of marijuana. Money was provided to individuals to purchase vehicles to transport the marijuana on behalf of the organization and to lease or purchase residences along the I‑80 corridor to facilitate the transportation of marijuana.
In addition to the Landfried brothers, who were arrested and charged in April 2009, others charged and sentenced to federal prison terms for participating in the conspiracy include: Victor James Gaydos, 31, of Aliquippa, Penn. , sentenced on Apr. 23, 2010, to 57 months; Dwayne William Corrigan, 26, of Ambridge, Penn., sentenced on July 30 to serve five years; Philip Stephen Preda, 38, of Aliquippa, sentenced July 30 to 42 months; Daniel William Keitel, 26, of Bellevue, Penn., sentenced Apr. 23, 2010 to serve 10 years; Joshua Wayne Welling, 29, Ambridge, sentenced on July 30 to serve 20 years; Ronald J. Marusack, Jr., 25, of Pittsburgh, sentenced on July 18 to 10 years in prison; and, Richard J. Bedalota Jr., 30, of Aliquippa, sentenced on July 30 to 57 months. Two additional defendants are scheduled for sentencing: James Edward White II, 36, of Rogers, Ohio, on Aug. 20, and Frank J. Berardelli, 52, of Rochester, Pennsylvania on Sept. 30.
Adam Mitchell Ruppel, 38, of Glendale, Arizona, was charged in a separate indictment and was sentenced on June 21 to a term of 70 months in federal prison. Another defendant, Justin R. Seibert, 27, of Liverpool, Ohio, was charged with interstate travel in aid of a drug offense and was sentenced on Apr. 23, to 41 months in prison.