(STL.News) – A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of distribution of and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, two counts of money laundering, and one count of possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Anthony Bentley, a/k/a Poundcake, 44, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.
During his plea hearing, Bentley admitted that between at least May 2015 and continuing until January 2016, he engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy involving 500 grams or more of powder cocaine, and that on October 20, 2015, he distributed approximately 489 grams of cocaine to a cooperating informant. Bentley further admitted that he laundered the proceeds of his cocaine trafficking through certain financial transactions related to his purchase of real estate in the Pittsburgh area, including a $156,649.01 cashier’s check used to purchase a commercial property at 3618 Laketon Road on May 23, 2014, and a $20,000 payment toward the purchase of a residence at 130 Curtis Street on July 8, 2015. Bentley, a previously convicted felon, also admitted to unlawfully possessing weapons and ammunition recovered during the searches of properties he owned or controlled. Recovered firearms included an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle and an M16 fully automatic machinegun.
Pursuant to a written plea agreement, Bentley also accepted responsibility for engaging in money laundering in connection with three additional real estate transactions, as well as possessing a machinegun. Bentley also agreed to forfeit, among other things, approximately $218,000 in cash seized during a search of his home.
Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing in this case for April 22, 2020, at 11 a.m.
Bentley faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, as well as a fine of $5,000,000, for the conspiracy charge; a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000 for the distribution charge; a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for the money laundering
charge involving the Laketon Road property; a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 for the money laundering charge involving the Curtis Street property; and a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for the felon-in-possession charge. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and applicable statutory framework, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
A federally administered Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case. The task force comprises members drawn from federal law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in partnership with state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Allegheny County Police Department, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Pennsylvania State Police. The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.