Pittsburgh man convicted on cocaine charges

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A Pittsburgh man was found guilty late Thursday of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempt to possess cocaine following a four-day trial in U.S. District Court.

Sean Moffitt, 33, who has been convicted previously of drug offenses including a federal conviction for heroin dealing, was caught on camera and tape having conversations with co-defendants and an undercover agent of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The discussions centered on whether the men would rob a supposed drug stash house on behalf of the agent, who portrayed himself as a drug dealer.

The agent told them men that there would be five or six kilograms of cocaine in the house. Although Moffitt did not show at the appointed time for the planned home invasion -- when the other two conspirators were arrested -- he was in frequent communication with them, and prosecutors used cell phone records to establish him as part of the plot.

Moffitt at one point asked the undercover agent to "text me the address" of the supposed stash house, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Haller said in his closing Thursday.

"This was an attempt, and they were really on the verge of carrying it out," he said.

Moffitt's attorney, James Kraus, alleged that the entire effort was "pre-packaged by the government," and that his client was involved in communications but never agreed to join the planned robbery.

On Wednesday, Moffitt testified, but at one point refused to answer questions, prompting Mr. Kraus to question in a motion whether he was mentally fit for trial.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour. Sentencing is set for Oct. 1, by U.S. District Judge Judge Maurice B. Cohill.

The other two conspirators pleaded guilty.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.


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