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Justice News

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Kensington Man Sentenced To 18 Years’ Imprisonment For Conspiracy To Distribute Heroin

WILLIAMSPORT – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Brian Keith Robinson, 31, of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by United States District Court Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner on October 12, 2017, to serve 18 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 224.11 grams of heroin, which is the equivalent of 8,964 individual doses of heroin, with a retail value of $89,644 at $10 per bag. 


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, on September 10, 2015, a federal grand jury in Williamsport previously returned a two-count indictment charging Robinson and two other residents of Westmoreland County, Cesare Biagio Palumbi, and Natawsha Durand with conspiracy to distribute 224.11 grams of heroin.  During the traffic stop of a rental vehicle on State Route 487 near Interstate 80, Scott Township Police department officers recovered the heroin, along with a digital scale and empty bags used to package heroin for sale. 


Palumbi, Durand, and another co-conspirator, Erica O’Neal, who was charged separately pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy charge.  Palumbi received a 60-month prison term imposed by Chief Judge Conner on November 2, 2016, and O’Neal is serving a 30-month prison term imposed by U.S. District Judge Malachy E. Mannion on March 20, 2017.  Natawsha Durand’s sentencing proceedings are pending.


This case was brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin traffickers operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit heroin related offenses.


The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the Scott Township Police Department, South Centre Township Police, the Columbia County Drug Task Force, and the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel has been assigned to the prosecution of this matter.


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Drug Trafficking
Updated October 17, 2017