2 sentenced in narcotics, money-laundering case

From staff reports

Two men were sentenced to prison terms on their convictions for violating federal narcotics and money-laundering laws related to a nine-month Title III wiretap investigation into drug trafficking in and around Jefferson, Clearfield and Allegheny counties.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice news release, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the Clarion Borough Police Department assisted in the case in which George Charlan and Derek Hillebrand were sentenced.

Charlan, 36, a former resident of Grants Pass, Oregon, was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release, the release said.

Hillebrand, 27, a former resident of Troutville, Clearfield County, was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release, the release said.

According to information presented to the court, Charlan and Hillebrand were key members of a cross-country narcotics distribution conspiracy. Charlan orchestrated a shipment of over 280 pounds of methamphetamine and over 100 kilograms of marijuana from California and Nevada to individuals in Jefferson, Clearfield and Allegheny counties.

Of that amount, according to court information, Hillebrand received and distributed at least 220 pounds of methamphetamine and 100 kilograms of marijuana to his customers, who subsequently distributed the narcotics to their customers throughout the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Charlan then directed Hillebrand to mail large amounts of U.S. currency (representing drug proceeds that were used to purchase additional narcotics) from the Western District of Pennsylvania to California, and one of his co-conspirators to transport the remaining drug profits to Charlan, according to court information. In total, Hillebrand mailed over $1 million in U.S. currency to California during the course of the conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney Eric G. Olshan commended the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Service–Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Services, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Police and Pennsylvania State Police for the investigation leading to the prosecutions.

In addition to the Jefferson County DA’s Office and Clarion police, assistance in the case also was received from the Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office, the release said.