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Justice News

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

Friday, May 17, 2019

Former Port Vue Man Orchestrated 2 Large Shipments of Heroin from Patterson, New Jersey to Pittsburgh Area

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A former resident of Port Vue, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Jarran Bell, 38, formerly of Port Vue, PA, pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Court Judge Cathy Bissoon.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that, this investigation, which utilized Title III intercepts from December 2014 through April 2015 of several different cellular telephones, surveillance, controlled drug purchases, and other investigative techniques, established the existence of a number of overlapping and interrelated drug distribution networks at work in the Western District of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Bell and his girlfriend Krystle Barretto were living together during the investigation. Bell and Barretto maintained numerous other residences, which were used as stash houses. Amanda Santiago lived in one of those residences during the investigative period.

In April of 2015, Bell and Barretto orchestrated two large shipments of heroin from Patterson, New Jersey, back to the McKeesport/Port Vue area. On April 19, 2015, a courier, Amanda Santiago, transported approximately 500 bricks of heroin from Patterson, New Jersey back to McKeesport via taxi cab.

On April 20, 2015, several search warrants were conducted. One of the search warrants took place at the primary residence of Bell and Barretto. Agents seized: a loaded firearm, approximately five bricks of heroin and a money counter. All of the aforementioned items were seized from the master bedroom of Bell and Barretto. The loaded gun was located in a dresser drawer along with the five bricks of heroin. Baretto was the lawful owner of the firearm.

Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for September 11, 2019. Judge Bissoon ordered Bell remained detained pending sentencing. The law provides for a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years to a maximum of life. A fine not to exceed $20,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Amanda Santiago pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2 ½ years (30 months) in prison. Krystle Barretto pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 19, 2019.

Assistant United States Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Bell.


Drug Trafficking
Updated May 20, 2019