Judge Sends Two Men to Prison for Participating in Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy
PITTSBURGH - A Pittsburgh resident and a resident of Oakland, Calif., have been sentenced in federal court on their convictions of violating federal narcotics and money laundering laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
United States District Judge David S. Cercone imposed a sentence of five years imprisonment followed by five years supervised release on Earl Lamar, 40, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and a sentence of 10 years imprisonment followed by five years supervised release on Roscoe Simpson, 39, of Oakland, Calif..
The IRS-Criminal Investigations joined the DEA as major partners in the investigation of the current case with the valuable assistance of multiple other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The investigation revealed a major cocaine distribution conspiracy which resulted in cocaine being transported to Pittsburgh and other areas from 2000 through 2010. The evidence at trial established that the conspiracy involved more than 2000 kilograms of cocaine and millions in laundered drug money. Prior to the summer of 2007, the conspiracy utilized packages of cocaine being shipped via the US mail or various common carriers from California to recipients in Pittsburgh. Documents and evidence revealed the large number of packages of cocaine shipped to the conspirators, as well as the packages of drug money being shipped back. Multiple seizures of both money and cocaine packages occurred. For example, on June 7, 2007 Postal Inspectors intercepted six kilograms of cocaine from the mail that was earmarked for the conspiracy. On Aug. 5, 2007, Postal Inspectors also seized a package containing $99,850.00 intended for a co-defendant.
The conspiracy began using couriers to transport cocaine to Pittsburgh and money back to California. The investigation has revealed that between 2007 and 2010 at least 11 different couriers took approximately 100 flights for the conspiracy. These involved the transportation of cocaine to the Pittsburgh end of the conspiracy and the transportation of drug money back to California. Again, multiple packages of both money and cocaine were intercepted. For example, in February of 2008 a co-defendant boarded a plane in Oakland bound for Pittsburgh with cocaine in his luggage. It was later learned that his bag contained 19 kilograms of cocaine. The co-defendant was observed, along with others, looking for the bag in Pittsburgh and he also filed a claim for the bag. On Aug. 8, 2009, more than $335,000 in cash, part of approximately $700,000 that was sent on this occasion, was seized from the luggage of a conspirator.
During other times, the conspiracy arranged transportation of cocaine or money by means such as chartered private flights and vehicles including tractor trailers. Individuals Indicted thus far involve many different roles within the conspiracy. Some conspirators are suppliers, couriers or recipient drug dealer/distributors. Other conspirators played a variety of roles such as: shipping or receiving packages; arranging for couriers, flights and flight payments; money launderers; and those who circumvented security procedures at airports.
Assistant United States Attorneys Ross E. Lenhardt, Michael L. Ivory and Gregory J. Nescott prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Pennsylvania Attorney General and many other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Lamar and Simpson.