PITTSBURGH - A McKeesport, Pennsylvania resident pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.
Shaila Ashby, age 30, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, before United States District Robert J. Colville.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that, on September 15, 2019, a Trooper with the Pennsylvania State Police stopped Ms. Ashby’s vehicle for traffic violations as she drove westbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Westmoreland County. After speaking with Ms. Ashby, the Trooper believed that she may be involved in drug trafficking, so the Trooper asked for her consent to search her vehicle. Ms. Ashby voluntarily consented to a search of her vehicle. The Trooper searched Ms. Ashby’s vehicle and discovered an aftermarket hidden compartment behind the rear seats that was operated by an electronic mechanism from the vehicle’s cupholder. The Trooper searched the compartment and found approximately 2,500 bricks, or 2.1 kilograms, of a mixture of heroin; fentanyl; and acetyl fentanyl, a fentanyl analogue.
Judge Colville scheduled sentencing for Nov. 22, 2022. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life imprisonment, a fine not to exceed $10,000,000, 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 Mark V. Gurzo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Ms. Ashby.