New Castle Man Admits Role in Multi-State Cocaine Conspiracy

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3 mins read
Narcotic Recreational drugs, habit-forming substance concept. Close up hand holding roll bank note with cocaine divided with blur image of banknote round roll, credit card.

PITTSBURGH – A resident of New Castle pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal narcotics laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Darnell Latham, 52, of New Castle, Pennsylvania pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine from March of 2019 through September of 2020, before United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan. Latham is one of thirteen defendants charged in the Indictment returned in this case.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in 2019, 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. Latham was intercepted communicating with his codefendant and coconspirator about purchasing, distributing, and cutting cocaine. 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.

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Judge Ranjan scheduled sentencing for February 15, 2022. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 30 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $2,000,000, 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. Latham remains in custody pending sentencing.

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

The Drug Enforcement Administration 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 conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of Latham.

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.

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