Five Facing Federal Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy Charges
PITTSBURGH – Five men have been indicted on charges of violating federal narcotics and firearms laws, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.
The indictment, returned on Nov. 30, charges Don Juan Mendoza, age 38, of Lawrenceville, Georgia; Jamie Lightfoot, Jr., age 25, of, Verona, Pennsylvania; Pedro Alejandro Blanco, age 39, of Jacksonville, Florida; Brian Powell, age 39, of Jacksonville, Florida; and Troy Rowe, age 28, of Columbia, South Carolina, with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribute of five kilograms or more of cocaine and less than 50 kilograms of marijuana. Additionally, Mendoza, Blanco, Rowe, and Powell are charged with possession with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and less than 50 kilograms of marijuana. Mendoza and Blanco are also charged with possessing a firearm by a convicted felon. Finally, all of the defendants are charged with possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to the previously filed criminal complaint, the defendants were part of a large-scale drug trafficking scheme. Brian Powell, Troy Rowe and Pedro Blanco were involved in the transport of an RV, registered to Mendoza’s mother, containing drugs from the Los Angeles area to the Penn Hills residence of Jamie Lightfoot, Jr. Don Juan Mendoza also arrived at the Lightfoot residence about the same time as the RV containing the drugs.
According to the complaint, a search of the RV revealed approximately 52 kilograms of cocaine, approximately 85 pounds of marijuana, and two firearms. The cocaine and marijuana were secreted in a compartment underneath the bunk beds in the RV. The two firearms were found in the same compartment as some of the cocaine and marijuana. The complaint also alleges that hundreds of thousands of dollars were recovered during a search of Lightfoot, Jr.’s residence.
The law provides for a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to life, a fine of $10,000,000 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. 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 this case.