Federal court sentences Ohio man for cocaine trafficking

A resident from Columbus has received a federal court sentence this week after being found guilty of trafficking cocaine from Ohio to western Pennsylvania as part of a broader investigation.

In November 2023, Norberto Castillo-Lopez, 34, was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine following a three-day court trial.

Castillo-Lopez has been sentenced to 135 months, which is slightly over 11 years, of imprisonment. After serving his time, he will also be placed under five years of supervised release.

According to a news release, evidence presented during the trial proved that Castillo-Lopez was the mastermind and leader of a drug trafficking organization. The organization was involved in smuggling kilogram-quantities of cocaine from Columbus, Ohio, into the Western District of Pennsylvania.

From December 2019 to August 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a wiretap investigation. During this time, authorities intercepted Castillo-Lopez as he agreed to provide cocaine to a co-conspirator. It was later discovered that the co-conspirator’s role was to distribute the cocaine to lower-level distributors for resale in the cities of New Castle and Farrell.

During September 2020, law enforcement officials conducted a search warrant at Castillo-Lopez’s home. As a result of the search, investigators discovered cocaine, a significant amount of money, and a kilogram wrapper.

As part of the larger 2020 operation known as “Operation No Mercy,” investigators have revealed that the organization, in which Castillo-Lopez was involved, had connections to a Mexican drug cartel. It is worth mentioning that several individuals who were indicted alongside Castillo-Lopez have already faced charges and received sentencing.

The investigation involved multiple law enforcement agencies from both states, including the Lawrence County Drug Task Force–Special Investigations Unit and the New Castle Police Department.

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MBS Staff
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