In early February, state and federal investigators arrested six men for allegedly conspiring to transport large amounts of illegal drugs from Puerto Rico to Erie over a two-year period. The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

According to court documents, the six defendants conspired to purchase cocaine and heroin from a supplier in Puerto Rico and have it shipped to Erie for local distribution. This activity reportedly took place between November 2017 and February 2020. On Feb. 10, officers seized approximately $250,000 worth of cocaine that was allegedly on its way to Erie. They also seized a Beretta handgun that one of the defendants was carrying when he was taken into custody.

The defendants have been charged with a variety of crimes, including drug and weapons offenses. If convicted, they could each face up to life in prison. The investigation was conducted by members of the Pennsylvania State Police, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Defendants convicted of drug crimes often face severe consequences, including lengthy prison terms, steep fines, the forfeiture of certain assets, probation and a permanent criminal record. However, with the help of a criminal defense attorney, it might be possible for some defendants to fight the allegations and obtain a better outcome. For example, if the attorney discovers that law enforcement officers violated a defendant’s rights during the search and seizure process, the evidence could be deemed inadmissible in court, which could cause the charges to be dropped. Even if the evidence is solid, the attorney might be able to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges and associated penalties.