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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Charged with Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, man has been charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute it, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Kenswick Austin, 45, is charged by complaint with one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine. He was arrested March 30, 2020, and appeared today by teleconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer of Newark federal court. Austin was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Between March 13, 2020, and March 28, 2020, Austin participated in multiple meetings and telephone calls to arrange the shipment of a package containing controlled substances into New Jersey. On March 30, 2020, the package arrived at an agreed-upon location, and Austin accompanied several other individuals to take possession of the package. After a trained narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of narcotics within a vehicle containing the package and within the package itself, law enforcement searched the vehicle and package pursuant to a federal search warrant and found approximately two kilograms of a substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents and task force officers of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the Bound Brook, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Vito Bet, for assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski of the Cybercrime Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated March 31, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 20-115