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Press Release

Two Men Sentenced on Federal Narcotics and Money Laundering Violations

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

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – On January 17, 2024, two individuals were sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment by United States District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand on their convictions for violating federal narcotics and money laundering laws related to a nine-month Title III wiretap investigation into drug trafficking in and around the counties of Jefferson, Clearfield, and Allegheny, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.

George Charlan, 36, a former resident of Grants Pass, Oregon, was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release, and Derek Hillebrand, 27, a former resident of Troutville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release.

According to information presented to the court, Charlan and Hillebrand were key members of a cross-country narcotics distribution conspiracy. Charlan orchestrated a shipment of over 280 pounds of methamphetamine and over 100 kilograms of marijuana from California and Nevada to individuals in Jefferson County, Clearfield County, and Allegheny County. Of that amount, Hillebrand received and distributed at least 220 pounds of methamphetamine and 100 kilograms of marijuana to his customers, who subsequently distributed the narcotics to their customers throughout the Western District of Pennsylvania. Charlan then directed Hillebrand to mail large amounts of United States currency (representing drug proceeds that were used to purchase additional narcotics) from the Western District of Pennsylvania to California, and one of his co-conspirators to transport the remaining drug profits to Charlan. In total, Hillebrand mailed over one million dollars in United States currency to California during the course of the conspiracy.

Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan D. Lusty prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Olshan commended the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Services, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Police, and Pennsylvania State Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Charlan and Hillebrand, with additional assistance from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office, and the Clarion Borough Police Department. This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Updated January 18, 2024

Drug Trafficking