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Justice News

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

Monday, April 2, 2018

Erie Cocaine Dealer Will Spend 10 Years in Prison as Part of Plea Deal

ERIE, Pa. - A former resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal narcotics laws in two separate cases, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Marco Antonio Melchor, 37, pleaded guilty to one count at Criminal No. 15-02 Erie and one count at Criminal No. 15-04 Erie before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from in and around June 2013 and January 2015, Melchor and his co-defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute and distribute approximately 50 kilograms of cocaine.

According to the information provided to the Court in support of the guilty pleas, the investigation revealed that Melchor, the owner of the El Toro Loco restaurant in Erie, Pennsylvania, was engaged distributing cocaine and laundering the drug proceeds made by the selling of those drugs. The investigation revealed that the drug trafficking conspiracy involving Melchor was being sourced cocaine from individuals in Texas associated with organizations in Mexico. The drugs were imported into the United States and were then brought into Houston, Texas. Once in Houston, co-conspirators coordinated for the drug loads to be brought into Ohio and Pennsylvania. The cocaine was then transported to Erie, Pennsylvania and elsewhere using vehicles rigged with hidden compartments. Once the drugs arrived in Erie they were further distributed initially by Melchor and co-conspirator Maria Urrutia, who then further distributed most of the cocaine from their locations in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Melchor also conspired with a co-conspirator in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to install a hidden compartment in a new vehicle, to expand their cocaine distribution efforts with the co-conspirator suppliers in Houston, Texas.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for July 16, 2018 at 3 p.m.  The law provides for a total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $4,000,000, or both for each count at Criminal No. 15-02 Erie and Criminal No. 15-04 Erie.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania State Police, U.S. Border Patrol, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Organized Crime Section, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, and the Arkansas State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Melchor.

Drug Trafficking
Updated April 2, 2018