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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Trinidad Citizen Pleads Guilty To Drugs And Money Laundering

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Arnold and Lower Burrell, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to charges of violating federal narcotics, firearms and money laundering laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Omali McKay, 29, a citizen of Trinidad with residences in Lower Burrell, Pa., and Arnold, Pa., pleaded guilty to five counts before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.

As part of his guilty plea, McKay acknowledged that he conspired with others from 2006 to August 25, 2012, to distribute 5 to 15 kilograms of cocaine and 280 to 840 grams of crack cocaine. McKay obtained kilogram quantities of cocaine from out-of-state sources of supply and then cooked much of that cocaine into crack. He then sold cocaine and crack in small quantities to street-level distributors and drug users in order to maximize his profits.

Also, McKay admitted possessing with intent to distribute one kilogram of cocaine seized from his Lower Burrell residence on August 25, 2012, while simultaneously possessing an assault rifle in furtherance of the drug crime. Specifically, on August 25, 2012, search warrants were conducted at McKay's residences. In the master bedroom closet of the Lower Burrell residence, officers discovered more than one kilogram of cocaine, an assault rifle, approximately 3,000 rounds of ammunition, two ballistic vests, and $272,000 in cash hidden in a bag containing McKay's identification cards. Seized from the garage were a 2004 Mercedes Benz and a 2004 Lexus.

Finally, McKay admitted to conspiring with three others to launder his drug trafficking proceeds. He used those laundered funds to purchase the Lower Burrell residence for $243,000 in cash in August 2011. Specifically, between May and July 2011, McKay repeatedly provided sums of cash to three individuals who then deposited the cash into their respective bank accounts and wrote checks back to McKay. Some of checks were written to make them appear to be payments for services rendered from McKay's non-existent lawn care business. In total, $243,500 was laundered in this manner in a little more than a month and a half.

The Mercedes Benz, the Lexus, the $272,000 in cash, and the residence in Lower Burrell will be forfeited since they were proceeds of McKay’s drug trafficking.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for May 20, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 15 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Charles A. Eberle is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Pennsylvania State Police, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Lower Burrell Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Omali McKay.

Updated July 14, 2015