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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Members Of Bloods Gang Plead Guilty To Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that three members of the Pennsylvania branch of the Almighty Renegade Gangsta (“ARG”) Bloods gang who were involved in the distribution of heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana in Columbia, Northumberland, and Luzerne Counties pleaded guilty today in federal court in Williamsport before U.S. District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner.

     Renard Durant, a/k/a “Black” and “SB,” age 27, of Bloomsburg, Shelton Cochrane, II, a/k/a “Sett,” age 37, of Mt. Carmel, and Gilberto Lanzot, Jr., a/k/a “Pops,” age 32, of Wilkes-Barre, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, and marijuana. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 19, 2013.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Durant and Jeffrey Tripp were initially indicted in June 2012 on charges of distribution of heroin, crack cocaine, and marijuana in Northumberland and Columbia Counties.

     In December 2012, a superseding indictment was returned charging Cochrane and Lanzot for their involvement. A second superseding indictment was returned in March 2013.

     Durant, Cochrane, and Lanzot occupied positions of leadership within the Pennsylvania branch of the “ARG” Bloods operating in Columbia, Northumberland, and Luzerne Counties, Pennsylvania. Durant served as the leader of the local ARG Bloods, managing a network of approximately 10-15 gang members which included Cochrane, Lanzot, and Tripp, who distributed heroin, crack cocaine, and marijuana from various suppliers in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and New York. From July 2011 through 2013, Durant agreed with Cochrane, Lanzot, and Tripp to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams of heroin and 112 grams of crack cocaine.   

     Co-defendant Jeffrey Tripp pleaded guilty in December 2012 and is scheduled for sentencing on June 11, 2013.    

     The case was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, the Columbia County Drug Task Force, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Prosecution of this matter has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this particular case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute for each defendant is 40 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 17, 2015