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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Lightfoot DTO Member Pleads Guilty to Guarding and Maintaining Drug Premises in Penn Hills, PA where Hundreds of Pounds of Drugs Were Later Recovered

PITTSBURGH – A member of the Lightfoot-Mendoza Drug Trafficking Organization has pleaded guilty to a federal narcotics charge, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Chace Johnson, 21, formerly of Verona, PA pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises before Chief United States District Court Judge Mark R. Hornak. Judge Hornak scheduled his sentencing for December 13, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

According to information presented to the court, in August and September of 2017, Chace Johnson lived at a residence on Harvest Drive in Verona, PA (Penn Hills), the home of Jamie Lightfoot, Jr. During that time, Chace Johnson helped to maintain the premises that was used as one of the centers of the Lightfoot-Mendoza Drug Trafficking Organization. During this time, Johnson guarded large sums of drug proceeds in the house and helped to gather drug paraphernalia and other supplies in order to aid in the distribution of narcotics that came into the home. Later on November 5, 2017, an FBI and Pennsylvania State Police Task Force executed a search warrant at the residence netting 52 kilograms of cocaine and heroin, 85 pounds of marijuana, illegal steroids, three firearms, and nearly $1 million dollars in cash.

The law provides for a maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $500,000. 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 Attorneys Timothy M. Lanni and Shaun Sweeney are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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.

The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated August 1, 2019