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A former Port Vue man faces 15 years in federal prison for his connection to an interstate drug ring that funneled large quantities of heroin from New Jersey into the Mon Valley.
Jarran Bell, 38, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh in May to three counts of conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin.
He was sentenced Sept. 11 by U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Bissoon, said a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady.
Bell also faces 10 years of probation upon his release.
Federal prosecutors allege that between 2014 and 2015, Bell and his girlfriend, Krystle Barretto, 33, maintained several houses in the Mon-Yough area --- including one on Beverly Road in Port Vue --- that were used to stash drugs for distribution to dealers.
Prosecutors said that Bell and Barretto orchestrated two large shipments of heroin to the Mon Valley area in April 2015. During a trip on April 19, 2015, a courier brought approximately 500 bricks of heroin from Patterson, N.J., to one of the residences maintained by Bell and Barretto, prosecutors said.
The following day, federal agents armed with search warrants arrested the courier and raided Bell and Barretto's home, confiscating a loaded firearm, approximately five bricks of heroin and a money counter, Brady's office said.
Barretto previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years in federal prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy prosecuted the case on behalf of the government, which was conducted by the federal Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force in conjunction with the FBI, state Attorney General's Office, the state police, Allegheny County sheriff's department and police, and police officers from Clairton, Duquesne, Munhall, Pittsburgh, West Mifflin and Wilkinsburg, Brady's spokeswoman said.
Originally published September 16, 2019.