PITTSBURGH, PA – A former Beaver County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the federal narcotics and firearms laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.
Michael Turner, 49, formerly of Wampum, PA, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon before United States District Judge Stephanie L. Haines.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that beginning in 2019, agents with the FBI and other agencies investigated drug trafficking activity in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood, and elsewhere. As part of that investigation, agents conducted court-authorized interceptions of telephonic communications over two telephones used by a codefendant between February 2020 through May 2020. During this period, agents intercepted Turner communicating regarding the purchase of kilogram quantities of cocaine. In connection with his guilty plea, Turner admitted that he acquired kilogram quantities of cocaine, which he redistributed to others, including to co-conspirators Brandon Quinn and Jeremiah Irving, both of whom have also pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine. Turner further admitted to unlawfully possessing a .223 caliber rifle and ammunition, which agents seized from Turner’s Beaver County residence during a search of the same as part of the investigation on June 18, 2020. Turner, a felon, was prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm and ammunition. Agents additionally recovered cocaine and approximately $17,000 in U.S. currency from Turner’s residence.
Judge Haines scheduled sentencing for October 27, 2022. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant. Pending sentencing, the court remanded Turner to the custody of the United States Marshals.
Assistant United States Attorney Jerome A. Moschetta is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives led the multi-agency investigation that included the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (Bureau of Narcotics Investigations), the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.