Former Washington County Jail Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Role in Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
PITTSBURGH - A resident of Washington, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court to violating federal law, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.
Andrew Molinaro, 45, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine on or about July 15, 2020, before United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan. Mr. Molinaro is one of 20 defendants charged in the Superseding Indictment returned in this case.
In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that in 2020 the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating a drug trafficking organization that operated throughout the greater Washington County area. Beginning in April of 2020 and continuing through October of 2020, the FBI received authorization to conduct a Title III wiretap investigation into the organization. The organization was responsible for orchestrating and directing the movement of drugs from New Jersey to the Western District of Pennsylvania for distribution throughout Washington County. Mr. Molinaro, who was a sergeant in the intake department of the Washington County Jail during this investigation, utilized his law enforcement position to provide a member of the drug trafficking organization with law enforcement sensitive information to aid that individual in evading law enforcement detection.
Judge Ranjan scheduled sentencing for Jan. 19, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 10 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorneys Mark V. Gurzo and Jerome A. Moschetta are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police Drug Law Enforcement Division conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Mr. Molinaro. 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.