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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Johnstown Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Distribute and Possess Cocaine and Fentanyl

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A former resident of Johnstown, PA pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Mary Lou Nelson, 59, pleaded guilty to a lesser included offense at Count One of the Superseding Indictment before Senior United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson.

In connection with the guilty plea, on or about April 2019 to on or about July 2021, Nelson did conspire to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base, in the form commonly known as “crack;”, a quantity of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, and a quantity of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl.

Judge Gibson scheduled sentencing for November 29, 2022. The law provides for a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison, a fine of $5,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Maureen Sheehan-Balchon. is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laurel Highlands Resident Agency and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Nelson. Additional agencies participating in this investigation include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Police, Cambria County District Attorney’s Office, Indiana County District Attorney’s Office, Cambria County Sheriff’s Office, Cambria Township Police Department, Indiana Borough Police Department, Johnstown Police Department, Upper Yoder Township Police Department, Richland Police Department, Ferndale Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.

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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated July 13, 2022