The No. 2 man in a South Hills cocaine ring was sentenced today to five and a half years in prison.
Michael D. Lucerne, 33, of Brookline, was viewed by law enforcement as a top distributor for David Curran, who pleaded guilty Aug. 8.
Mr. Lucerne has a long history of state charges, including convictions for harassment, drug possession, drunk driving and recklessly endangering other people.
His forthrightness after indictment, March guilty plea, and apparent jailhouse change of heart during the 21 months prior to sentencing led U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry to give him a sentence that is less than half what federal guidelines suggest.
"He certainly appears to be on the road to rehabilitation," the judge said, noting participation in jail rehab programs and a conversion to Catholicism.
"I've made a major change inside of myself," Mr. Lucerne said. "This is my last time ever in a courtroom."
After release, he faces five years of federal supervision. The federal government will also take his 2009 Cadillac.
Mr. Curran's organization moved cocaine that ran from Mexico through a Kentucky ring of Bosnian Serb immigrants and then out to cities throughout the Midwest. Mr. Lucerne pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and distribute 3.5 to 5 kilograms of cocaine.
Mr. Lucerne is the ninth person sentenced from among the 16 people indicted in 2009 in connection with the ring. A few have had all charges dropped, two have received probation, and six have received prison terms of between 33 and 55 months.
Mr. Curran faces sentencing Dec. 9.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542