Date: November 14, 2022 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pittsburgh, PA — A former resident of Woodland, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to violation of federal narcotics and firearms laws related to a nine-month Title III wiretap investigation into drug trafficking in and around the counties of Jefferson, Clearfield, and Allegheny, United States Attorney Cindy Chung announced today. Justin Zeruth pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possesses with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon before United States District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand. Zeruth was one of 47 defendants charged in six related indictments as part of the Return to Sender investigation. In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Zeruth was a distributor who purchased at least a pound of methamphetamine from Hillebrand that he then redistributed. On March 24, 2021, Zeruth, a felon precluded from possessing a firearm, was stopped while driving a vehicle. Officers searched the vehicle and seized a firearm. Judge Wiegand scheduled sentencing for Zeruth on March 8, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a sentence of not less than five years to a maximum of forty in prison, a fine not to exceed $5,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. The court ordered that the defendant remain detained pending sentencing. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan D. Lusty and Michael R. Ball are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government. The Drug Enforcement Administration led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Police, and Pennsylvania State Police. Also assisting were the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Clearfield County District Attorney's Office, and the Clarion Borough Police Department. This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.