Houston, Texas, Man Played Role in Large Meth Trafficking Organization

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal narcotics 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 Cindy Chung announced today.

Diego Zamudio, age 24, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine before United States District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand.  Zamudio was one of 47 defendants charged in six related indictments as part of the Return to Sender investigation. 

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on April 21, 2021, investigators received information that couriers were transporting a large amount of methamphetamine from Houston, Texas, to Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.  Investigators obtained a search warrant and seized over ten kilograms of pure methamphetamine from a truck parked in the parking lot of the Red Roof Inn located in Clearfield County.  Investigators determined that the methamphetamine was destined for a residence in Clearfield County.  Upon further investigation, investigators determined that Zamudio directed the transport of over 40 kilograms of methamphetamine to the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Judge Wiegand scheduled sentencing for Zamudio on August 25, 2022, at 9:30 a.m.  The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 10 years to a maximum of life in prison, 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 offense(s) and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. 

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Pending sentencing, the court ordered that the defendant remain out on bond.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan D. Lusty and Michael R. Ball are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Police, and Pennsylvania State Police.  Also assisting were the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office, and the Clarion Borough Police Department. 

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.