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Press Release

Arizona Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Facilitating Mexico to Pittsburgh Cocaine Pipeline

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, PA – Krystian Zarate was sentenced to 10 years (120 months) in prison for conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Zarate, 28, of Rio Rico, Arizona, was sentenced by United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan. Judge Ranjan ordered Zarate to serve five years of supervised release following his prison sentence.

Zarate was a member of an international drug trafficking conspiracy that extended from Mexico to Pittsburgh as well as to locations in the New York City area and New Jersey. He was a conduit between a Mexican supplier and American drug traffickers. Between August and October 2018 alone, he coordinated the supply of nearly 50 kilograms of cocaine to Western Pennsylvania and forwarded hundreds of thousands of dollars of drug trafficking proceeds to Mexico.

Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General led the multi-agency investigation that also included the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations, the Pittsburgh Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Munhall Police Department, the Robinson Township Police Department, the McKees Rocks Police Department, the Stowe Township Police Department, the Etna Police Department, and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

This case is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program, known as OCDETF. OCDETF was established in 1982 to support comprehensive investigations and prosecutions of major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. It is the keystone of the drug reduction strategy of the Department of Justice. By combining the resources and expertise of federal agencies and their state and local law enforcement partners, OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the most serious drug trafficking, money laundering, and transnational criminal organizations.


Updated July 1, 2020

Drug Trafficking