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The former postmaster of West Newton has been sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring with a drug trafficking ring out of Texas.
Joseph Borrelli, 49, of Glassport also was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab to five years of supervised release following his prison term, acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song said.
At trial, prosecutors said that Borrelli helped Dante Lozano of Brownsville, Texas, by providing addresses of vacant houses in Westmoreland County that were served by the West Newton post office.
Lozano would then mail packages of cocaine to those addresses, said investigators, who believe that between 2011 and 2015, dozens of packages totalling 18 pounds of cocaine were shipped into the Pittsburgh area that way.
When the packages to the West Newton area couldn't be delivered and were rerouted to Borrelli, prosecutors said he would deliver them to Jeffrey Turner, 36, and April Racan, 38, formerly of McKeesport and Elizabeth, for sale.
Borrelli also aided the drug ring by advising Turner how to minimize the chances of their drug packages being detected by law enforcement, Song said in a statement.
In imposing the sentence on Friday, Schwab chastised Borrelli for abusing his position of trust in the community.
Turner and Racan pleaded guilty in 2016 to money laundering and distribution of cocaine. Lozano pleaded guilty in February 2017. All three are expected to be sentenced later this year, Song said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Nescott prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the United States Postal Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Pennsylvania State Police.
Originally published April 10, 2017.