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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

39 People Charged with Large-Scale Cocaine Trafficking

PITTSBURGH, PA - A federal grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania returned two separate, but related, superseding indictments charging 39 defendants with committing numerous drug trafficking, money laundering, financial structuring and firearms crimes, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

"This cocaine organization is one of the largest in the history of Western Pennsylvania: it spread across the country, from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, with sources to Mexican cartels, and brought hundreds of kilos of cocaine which were distributed through a network," stated U.S. Attorney Brady. "The goal of investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office is to prosecute and dismantle entire drug trafficking organizations as was done here. By taking down an entire multi-state organization at once, the impact on our region is felt immediately."

"Drugs tear at the inner fabric of our community," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bob Johnson. "They bring violence to our streets. They waste young lives and wreak havoc on families. That's why the FBI is committed to preventing criminal enterprises from continuing to damage our community."

"The Pennsylvania State Police, along with our local and federal partners, are committed to dismantling large-scale drug trafficking organizations throughout the Commonwealth and the country, such as the Lightfoot Drug Trafficking Organization," said Sergeant Jeffrey P. Dombrosky, Western Section Supervisor of the PSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Drug Law Enforcement Division. "We are fully committed to an aggressive drug enforcement campaign against those that choose to traffic illegal drugs and poison our communities."

"I would like to thank Scott Brady, the U.S. Attorney, for his and his staff’s diligence and hard work in the prosecution of drug offenses in Fayette County," added Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bowers. "He has made a major impact in protecting the residents of Fayette County by the arrests of drug dealers today."

THE INDICTMENTS

The 13-count superseding indictment named the defendants as:

• Don Juan Mendoza, age 38, formerly of Lawrenceville, GA,

• Edward Alford II, age 30, of Donora, PA,

• Devon Bell, age 25, of Brownsville, PA,

• Pedro Blanco, age 40, formerly of Miami, FL,

• Douglas Cochran, age 39, of Washington, PA,

• Anthony Crews, age 44, of Monessen, PA,

• John Duchi, Jr., age 29, of Donora, PA,

• Sean Dungee II, age 32, of Donora, PA,

• Brett Fincik, age 43, formerly of Belle Vernon, PA,

• Kevin Ford, age 32, of Clairton, PA,

• Monty Grinage, age 39, formerly of Pittsburgh, PA,

• Kaylin Homa-Lightfoot, age 24, of Verona, PA,

• Chace Johnson, age 19, of California, PA,

• Malik Lawson, age 22, of Donora, PA,

• Deaubre Lightfoot, age 27, formerly of Monessen, PA,

• Jamie Lightfoot, Jr., age 25, formerly of Verona, PA,

• Todd Moses, age 33, of Decatur, Georgia, and originally from Donora, PA,

• Thomas Ohler, age 36, of Greensburg, PA,

• Eric Pinno, age 53, of Pittsburgh, PA,

• Brian Powell, age 39, formerly of Jacksonville, FL,

• Eugene Reddick, age 35, of Clairton, PA,

• Troy Rowe, age 28, formerly of Columbia, SC,

• Richard Russ, age 57, of Sarasota, FL,

• William Shaw, Jr., age 33, of Brownsville, PA,

• Herbert Sheppard, age 44, of Monessen, PA,

• Roddell Smalls, age 44, of Pittsburgh, PA,

• Quentin Vaden, age 35, of Washington, PA, and

• Jamie Lightfoot, Sr., age 46, currently incarcerated at FCI Loretto.

According to the superseding indictment, from January 2016 through December 2017, Mendoza, Alford, Bell, Blanco, Cochran, Crews, Duchi, Jr., Dungee, Fincik, Ford, Grinage, Deaubre Lightfoot, Lightfoot, Jr., Lightfoot, Sr., Moses, Ohler, Pinno, Powell, Reddick, Rowe, Shaw, Sheppard, Smalls, and Vaden conspired to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.

On November 5, 2017, Mendoza, Blanco, Powell, and Rowe are charged with possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more cocaine, and 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, as well as possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Lightfoot, Jr. is also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime on November 5, 2017. On that same date, Mendoza and Blanco, both convicted felons, are charged with being in possession of a firearm. Grinage, also a convicted felon, is charged with being in possession of a firearm on December 12, 2017. Federal law prohibits a convicted felon from possessing a firearm. From May 2017 through November 2017, Homa-Lightfoot and Johnson are charged with maintaining a drug involved premises.

The superseding indictment also charges five defendants with conspiring to commit money laundering. Lightfoot, Jr. and Moses are charged from January 2016 through November 2017; Lightfoot, Jr., Pinno and Russ from January 2017 through June 2017; and Lightfoot, Jr. and Lightfoot, Sr. from January 2017 through June 2017. Lightfoot, Jr. and Russ are also charged with conspiring to commit structuring from January 2017 through June 2017. Moses is charged with structuring from September 1, 2017 to September 5, 2017.

For the drug charges, the law provides for a total sentence of not less than 10 years and not more than life in prison, a fine of not more than $10,000,000 or both, at each count. For the firearms charges, the law provides for a combined maximum sentence of not less than 5 years in prison, and not more than life in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both, at each count. For maintaining a drug premises, the law provides for a total maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both. For the money laundering charges, the law provides to a maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both, at each count. For the structuring charges, the law provides for a maximum sentence of not more than 5 years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both, at each count.

A separate, but related, one-count superseding indictment named the following defendants:

• Brandon Thomas, age 38, formerly of Donora, PA,

• Tyler Benefield, age 33, of Vanderbilt, PA,

• Regina Davis, age 48, of Donora, PA,

• Adam Farabaugh, age 28, of Canonsburg, PA,

• Josh Gillingham, age 35, of Fayette City, PA.

• Renee Kinder, age 45, of Donora, PA,

• Robert Margoni, age 28, of New Eagle, PA,

• Tyler Mucci, age 31, of Monongahela, PA,

• Jeff Newstrom, age 30, of Masontown, PA,

• Ricky Pietroboni, age 40, of Monongahela, PA, and

• Michael Tirpak, age 35, of Elizabeth, PA.

According to the superseding indictment, from March 2017 through December 2017, the defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 30 years in prison, a fine of not more than $2,000,000 or both.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Timothy M. Lanni is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police, with assistance from the South Strabane Police Department, the Elizabeth Borough Police Department, the Penn Hills Police Department and the Perryopolis Police Department, conducted the investigation that led to the indictment in these cases. The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.

A superseding indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated April 25, 2018