Federal Jury Finds New Jersey Man Guilty of Supplying Heroin to Pittsburgh-Based Drug Ring
PITTSBURGH—After deliberating for approximately 90 minutes, on May 13, 2015, a federal jury found Santino Drew guilty of two felony narcotics counts: conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and possession with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Santino Drew, 36, of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was tried before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh, Pa.
According to Assistant United States Attorneys Eric Rosen and Conor Lamb, who prosecuted the case, Drew was originally scheduled to proceed to trial with Brandon Thompson and Aldwin Vega as co- defendants. All three defendants were alleged to have supplied Jay Germany, a resident of Homestead, Pa. with heroin for distribution. On May 4, 2015, Vega pled guilty to heroin trafficking charges, and that same day, Thompson pled guilty to heroin and cocaine trafficking charges, as well as discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. Vega’s guilty plea called for a stipulated sentence of 16 years in prison, while Thompson’s guilty plea called for a stipulated sentence of 15 years in prison.
On May 4, 2015, with Thompson and Vega having pled guilty, Drew proceeded to trial alone. Over a period of four and a half days, the jury heard evidence establishing that over an approximately five-month period in 2012 and 2013, Drew conspired together with two other New Jersey-based heroin suppliers—Thomas Martinez and Hector Guadalupe—to transport heroin from New Jersey to Pittsburgh, where it was resold. One of the persons Drew sold heroin to was Jay Germany, who, in the fall of 2012, became the focal-point of an FBI-led investigation into violent gang activity in Homestead. Germany has pled guilty to the heroin trafficking charges against him, and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On Jan. 30, 2013, the FBI, who was monitoring a telephone utilized by Santino Drew, anticipated that a load of heroin was being brought to Pittsburgh by Thomas Martinez. That evening, a search warrant was executed at the Comfort Inn in Robinson Township, and 519 bricks of heroin, totaling 707 grams, were found under Drew’s bed.
Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for Sept. 2, 2015 at 10 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 20 years in prison and not more than life, a fine of not more than $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Pending sentencing, the court continued the detention of Mr. Drew.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, McKeesport Police Department, Munhall Police Department, and the West Homestead Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Santino Drew.