Texas woman sentenced for courier role in return to sender OCDETF investigation


Date: December 14, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

PITTSBURGH, PA — A resident of Highlands, Texas has been sentenced in federal court to 18 months of incarceration followed by four years of supervised release on a conviction of federal narcotics 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.

United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan imposed the sentence on Isniel Cantu. Cantu was one of 47 defendants charged in six related indictments as part of the Return to Sender investigation.

According to information presented to the court, investigators seized approximately ten kilograms of pure methamphetamine from Cantu and her boyfriend, David Smallwood at a hotel in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Investigators determined that Cantu and Smallwood were couriers who previously transported approximately 20 kilograms of methamphetamine from Houston, Texas to a location in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania during two prior trips.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan D. Lusty and Michael R. Ball prosecuted 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.