A high-ranking member of the Pagans motorcycle gang from Ross was sentenced today in a West Virginia courtroom to a dozen years in federal prison for distributing cocaine.
Richard Speciale, 53, who had originally pleaded guilty in 2011 following a joint investigation by the Pennsylvania attorney general's office and the FBI, entered a plea to a revised agreement with prosecutors in Wheeling. He pleaded before U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley in Clarksburg, who immediately sentenced him to 12 years.
Speciale, known as "Big Rick," originally pleaded to distributing cocaine in an investigation that began in Pennsylvania. His case had been delayed for years by motions on both sides. The terms of the original plea aren't public, but the new plea agreement specifies that he does not have to testify before a grand jury or be debriefed by federal authorities.
According to the FBI, Speciale ran an enterprise that distributed cocaine from June 2007 to January 2010, when Pittsburgh police and the AG's agents arrested him.
He had begun dealing coke shortly after his release from federal prison on a previous cocaine conviction in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. He had been sentenced in 1998 to a decade in prison after an investigation by federal agents and Shaler police.
The current case stemmed from a larger investigation of the Pagans by a state grand jury in Allegheny County. About six months after Pittsburgh police and state agents detained him in January 2010 in connection with that case, a federal grand jury in West Virginia indicted him on charges based on controlled buys that he made in West Virginia with the same informant the state agents had used in the Pennsylvania case.
Speciale still faces a case in federal court in Pittsburgh in which he is charged with violating his supervised release from the 1998 conviction.