After nine months of investigation, federal authorities handed down six separate indictments Tuesday regarding a drug trafficking ring operating from California to western Pennsylvania.

Agencies involved in the nine-month investigation include the U.S. Attorney's office, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), DuBois City, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pittsburgh Police Department.

Drug Trafficking Ring Dismantled

According to WJAC, 47 individuals were named in six separate indictments. The suspects were allegedly involved in a drug trafficking ring operating from California to western Pennsylvania, including Clearfield and Jefferson counties.

Based on the indictments, the defendants were charged not only with narcotics trafficking but also money laundering and firearms violations. 

Investigators noted that the defendants operated across the country and distributed drugs locally in the counties of Clearfield, Jefferson, and Allegheny.

In the lead indictment involving 37 suspects, they allegedly distributed over more than 550 grams of methamphetamine and 500 grams of cocaine.

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Individuals Behind California-Pennsylvania Drug Pipeline Charged

Acting U.S. Attorney Steve Kaufman said the defendants in the lead indictment were all arrested Tuesday morning. However, he noted that federal authorities were still looking for four of the defendants that were charged.

Clearfield County District Attorney Ryan Sayers said the operation dismantled the drug pipeline of traffickers that cut the supply chain. Sayers noted that the major drug bust helped slow down the suffering and death in the local area.

He added that it would also create a huge impact on the drug treatment they were trying to impose in Clearfield County that recently started, CBS 21 reported.

Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett noted that the operation was a culmination of a major drug investigation that involved the collaboration of several states and federal agencies. Burkett said that all parties worked hand-in-hand in order to protect the citizens of Jefferson County.

Furthermore, Burkett commended and applauded the effort of the DEA, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Kaufman, the State Police of Pennsylvania, and the many other law enforcement agencies that participated in the operation.

He emphasized that by spearheading the effort, they have stopped the operations of the drug trafficking ring that caused the suffering of locals. Burkett also mentioned that it was very gratifying to see that many agencies were working so hard together for such a great cause.

Meanwhile, federal authorities noted that the law provides for a minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and up to life, a fine of not more than $10,000,000, or both for all defendants. The arrested suspects' ages range from 23 to 60 years old.

From 2020 through August 2021, officials said that multiple Pennsylvania residents and people from the west coast were arrested in relation to distributing multiple substances including cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and marijuana. 

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Written by: Jess Smith

WATCH: Drug Pipeline From California To Western Pennsylvania Dismantled, 47 Indicted - From CBS Pittsburgh