California man sentenced to 12+ years in prison for cross-country cocaine distribution scheme


Date: February 25, 2020


PITTSBURGH - A California resident has been sentenced in federal court to 151 months' imprisonment and five years' supervised release on his conviction of violating federal narcotics laws.

United States District Judge Marilyn J. Horan imposed the sentence on Robert Forbes, also known as "Daniel Kirkpatrick" and "Joe" of Pomona, California.

According to information presented to the court, Forbes conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance from April 2017 through April 2019. The conspiracy involved the shipment of cocaine from California using the United States Mail to various cities throughout the United States, including New Castle, Pennsylvania. The conspiracy also involved the shipment of cash, also through the United States Mail, from the recipients of the cocaine to the suppliers of cocaine. Many of the cocaine distributors were, like Forbes, originally from Jamaica.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway and Marnie Sheehan-Balchon prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

This investigation was conducted by the federally administered Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Forbes. The task force is headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is comprised of members drawn from the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Lawrence County Drug Task Force, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Borough of Baldwin Police Department, McKees Rocks Police Department, Munhall Police Department, Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Pennsylvania State Police. The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises. In this case, the Lawrence County Drug Task Force and the New Castle Police Department also participated in the investigation.