PITTSBURGH – A resident of Farrell, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment followed by 8 years of supervised release, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.
United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan imposed the sentence on Michael Talbert, 43.
In connection with the guilty plea and sentencing, the court was advised that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 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. Talbert, as a member of this multistate drug trafficking organization, was intercepted discussing the distribution of cocaine throughout the Western District of Pennsylvania. 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, including Talbert.
Assistant United States Attorney Mark V. Gurzo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
United States Attorney Chung commended the DEA in Pittsburgh, PA; the DEA, Columbus, OH; the 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 Talbert.
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.