Major Cocaine Supplier Is 39th To Plead Guilty
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ On April 18, 2011, a resident of Swissvale, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal drug laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced.
Eric Alford, 33, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti. Alford was the 39th defendant, out of 56 original defendants, to plead guilty to charges from the four separate, but related indictments.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that the investigation revealed that Alford was a major cocaine supplier to the Braddock area from Texas. The prosecution's case showed that Alford's activities involved between five and 15 kilograms during 2008. The evidence included Alford and his courier being arrested on April 17, 2008, with $217,000 in the vehicle while en route to Houston to buy cocaine. Just two months later, the courier was arrested with eight kilograms of cocaine, destined for Alford, in his vehicle.
Judge Conti scheduled sentencing for Aug. 19, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 20 years and not more than life in prison, a fine of $8,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history of the defendant. The defendant forfeited his rights to four different properties during his plea and was remanded to jail to await his sentencing.
First Assistant United States Attorney Soo C. Song and Assistant United States Attorney Ross E. Lenhardt are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force (GPSSTF), the Allegheny County District Attorney's Violent Crime and Firearm Task Force (VCFTF), which is comprised of investigators from the Allegheny County Sheriff's Department, the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Alford.