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Press Release

New Castle Drug Dealer Sentenced to More than Eight Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - A resident of New Castle, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 105 months’ imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release on his conviction for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 40 grams or more of fentanyl, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan imposed the sentence on Nathaniel McKnight, 28, of New Castle, Pennsylvania.

According to the information presented to the court, the Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating a cocaine and fentanyl trafficking organization that operated throughout the United States, including Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico. Beginning in December of 2019 and continuing through August of 2020, the DEA received authorization to conduct a Title III wiretap investigation into the organization. McKnight was intercepted communicating with his codefendants and coconspirators to orchestrate the movement of cocaine from Columbus, Ohio to the Western District of Pennsylvania for distribution. McKnight was also intercepted communicating about acquiring fentanyl, distributing fentanyl, and cutting fentanyl to increase his profits. In addition to the intercepted communications, agents seized cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, ecstasy, marijuana, firearms, and bulk United States Currency from members of the organization.

Assistant United States Attorney Mark V. Gurzo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Chung commended the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) in Pittsburgh, PA; the DEA, Columbus, OH; DEA, Harrisburg, PA; Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), Pittsburgh, PA; HSI, Orlando, FL; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations; United States Postal Service, Columbus, Ohio; Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General; Lawrence County Drug Task Force – Special Investigations Unit; and New Castle Police Department for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of McKnight.

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.

Updated February 3, 2022

Drug Trafficking