Jury convicts 3 participants in a prison drug-smuggling operation


Date: December 15, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

PITTSBURGH — Noah Landfried, Michel Cercone, and Anthony Smith were convicted at the conclusion of a six-day jury trial of conspiring to distribute Schedule I and II controlled substances between 2017 and 2019, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today. Landfried and Cercone were also convicted of conspiring to launder drug trafficking proceeds between 2017 and 2019. In addition, Landfried was convicted of distributing at least 40 grams of a mixture containing fentanyl on June 18, 2018.

Landfried of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, Cercone Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and Smith of Homestead, Pennsylvania, will be sentenced by United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan on dates to be determined. In reaching its verdict, the jury determined that Landfried was responsible for at least 5 kilograms of cocaine, at least 100 grams of heroin, and at least 40 grams of fentanyl, and Cercone was responsible for at least 500 grams of cocaine. Both Landfried and Smith were on federal supervised release for prior drug trafficking convictions when they committed the additional drug trafficking crimes between 2017 and 2019.

"The United States proved that Noah Landfried, the leader of this illicit operation, and his co-conspirators conducted a wide-ranging drug conspiracy which involved the sale of Schedule I and II drugs within the federal prison system," said U.S. Attorney Chung. "Inmate accounts were used to collect and make payments for the drugs. Landfried and Cercone were also convicted of laundering the drug proceeds."

Assistant United States Attorneys Rebecca L. Silinski and Craig W. Haller are prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General led the multi-agency investigation that also included the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Beaver County District Attorney's Office, the Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations, the Pittsburgh Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Munhall Police Department, the Robinson Township Police Department, the McKees Rocks Police Department, the Stowe Township Police Department, the Etna Police Department, and the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

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.