Leader of Washington County Drug Distribution Network Pleads Guilty to Drug and Gun Charges
PITTSBURGH, PA -- A resident of Washington County, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.
Marcus Brown, 34, of Washington County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on June 1 to conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine from April of 2020 and continuing to November 19, 2020, before United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan. Mr. Brown also accepted responsibility for conspiring to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base as well quantities of heroin and fentanyl and for possessing firearms in conjunction with his drug trafficking. Mr. Brown is the lead Defendant 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 lead by Mr. Brown 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. Mr. Brown, as the leader of this multi-member drug trafficking organization, was intercepted orchestrating and directing the movement of drugs from New Jersey to the Western District of Pennsylvania for distribution throughout Washington County by various members of the organization. In addition to the intercepted communications, agents seized cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, fentanyl, firearms, ammunition, body armor, and bulk United States Currency from members of the organization, including Mr. Brown.
Judge Ranjan scheduled sentencing for September 28, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than ten years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000,000, 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. Brown. 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.