Three plead guilty in Monroeville drug-ring case
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Three men pleaded guilty yesterday for their roles in a Monroeville-based interstate drug ring that state agents said trafficked $8.7 million worth of narcotics throughout Allegheny County, supplied by illegal aliens from Mexico.
Darnell Smith, 26, of East Liberty; D'Jarrard Dutrieville, 31, of Forest Hills; and Juventino Parra-Ramirez, 36, who was illegally living in Columbus, Ohio, pleaded guilty to charges that included conspiracy, and cocaine possession and delivery.
Mr. Dutrieville was sentenced to 18 to 36 months in prison, while Mr. Parra-Ramirez was sentenced to five to 10 years; Mr. Smith awaits sentencing in January.
A fourth man, Jose Marcos Lopez, 33, also appeared before Judge Randal B. Todd yesterday but unexpectedly opted not to take a plea agreement. He faces similar charges and firearms violations.
Three other men pleaded guilty last week.
All were among 20 people arrested in December 2007 as part of an investigation called "Operation Area Code," because drug distributors referred to 4.5 ounces of cocaine as "412" in wiretapped phone conversations with the group's ringleader, Victor Allen Jr., 43, of Monroeville. State narcotics agents at the time described the drug network as medium-sized.
Mr. Allen told a state grand jury that Mr. Smith, known to him as "D," paid him $16,000 for 18 ounces of cocaine. Mr. Allen also said that every time Mr. Smith ordered cocaine he was "guaranteed" to receive it, and did on several other occasions.
Mr. Dutrieville also purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of cocaine from Mr. Allen in the summer of 2007, according to the grand jury.
Mr. Parra-Ramirez was among a group called the "Mexicans," at least seven illegal aliens living in Ohio who supplied Mr. Allen with cocaine and marijuana. Mr. Allen said that from the summer of 2005 to September 2007, he obtained a total of 102 kilograms of cocaine and 430 pounds of marijuana from the men. He accepted the deliveries at a home in Sharpsburg.
Mr. Parra-Ramirez maintained a separate business from the other Mexicans with a man named "Chilly," whom police have not been able to identify.
State agents watched meetings between Mr. Parra-Ramirez and Mr. Allen and also found money from their transactions during two traffic stops.
Other members of the drug ring are expected to enter pleas or will head to trial in upcoming months.
First Published October 14, 2009 12:00 am