Man pleads guilty to multi-state drug trafficking enterprise

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 1:55 PM EDT
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MARTINSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to his role in a multi-state organized drug trafficking enterprise that included West Virginia, officials said.

Anthony Peterson, 36, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to one count of “RICO Conspiracy,” United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced.

Peterson, also known as “Ant Man,” pleaded guilty to working with others as a member of the “19th Street Enterprise,” a criminal organization that engaged in acts of violence, robbery, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, providing and selling false identification documents, and drug trafficking.

The enterprise operated in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Puerto Rico, Ihlenfeld said.

Peterson faces up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.

The FBI; the Department of Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; the West Virginia State Police; the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; and the West Virginia Air National Guard investigated. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Kent County Sheriff’s Office assisted.

These charges are the result of investigations supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) under the Attorney General-led Synthetic Opioid Surge (SOS)/Special Operations Division (SOD) Project Clean Sweep. This initiative seeks to reduce the supply of synthetic opioids in “hot spot” areas previously identified by the Attorney General of the United States, thereby reducing drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths, and identify wholesale distribution networks and sources of supply operating nationally and internationally. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.

Peterson was one of 22 people indicted as part of the drug trafficking enterprise in October 2020.

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