News and Press Releases

Brush Valley Man Pleads Guilty To Drug Charge

May 17, 2012

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A resident of Brush Valley, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess marijuana, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Jorge M. Harkleroad, 41, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from March 2009 to May 9, 2011, Harkleroad conspired to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. In addition, evidence presented to the Court at the time of Harkleroad's guilty plea reflected that Harkleroad conspired with George M. Lowmaster and others to facilitate and promote Lowmaster's drug distribution organization.

Judge Gibson scheduled sentencing for October 12, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of forty years in prison, a fine of $5,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Harkleroad on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney John J. Valkovci, Jr., is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

A joint task force, headed by the Laurel Highlands Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Harkleroad. Other agencies participating on the task force include the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Pennsylvania State Police; the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office; the Cambria County District Attorney's Office; the Carrolltown Police Department; the Patton Police Department; the Ebensburg Police Department; the Portage Police Department and the Paint Township Police Department.

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