Man to serve four years for conspiracy in heroin case
The fourth and final co-defendant in a federal heroin case was sentenced Friday to nearly four years in prison.
Jeffrey Tripp, 27, formerly of Kulpmont, was given a 46-month sentence along with three years supervised probation upon release. It was recommended by U.S. Middle District Court that he also be placed in a 500-hour drug treatment program.
Tripp was indicted by a grand jury in June 2012 on eight counts. He pleaded not guilty but in December changed his plea to guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Three co-defendants also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and were sentenced earlier this year: Renard Durant, 27, formerly of Bloomsburg, 8 1/2 years; Gilberto Lanzot Jr., 33, formerly of Mount Carmel and Hazleton, 5 1/4 years; Shelton Cochrane II, 37, formerly of Mount Carmel, five years.
Each must serve four years supervised probation.
Durant was indicted at the same time as Tripp. Superseding indictments later named both Lanzot and Cochrane. They all originally pleaded not guilty.
All four confessed to possessing with the intent to sell 100 grams of heroin and 28 grams of crack cocaine. They were alleged to have committed the crimes as members of a street gang named Almighty Renegade Gangsta Bloods. Prosecutors said they sold the drugs in both Northumberland and Columbia counties beginning around July 2011 through their arrest in June 2012.
Prosecutors say cash and guns were traded to buy drugs in the Hazleton area of Luzerne County as well as New York and New Jersey. Drugs, guns, cash and gang literature - writings on oaths, bylaws, alliances and gang hierarchy - were all stored at various locations, including at homes in Shamokin, Mount Carmel, Kulpmont and Bloomsburg, according to court records.
Both Cochrane and Lanzot denied gang affiliations in separate sentencing memorandums, and Lanzot also denied traveling to New York to buy drugs. Durant did not refute gang implications in a sentencing memorandum.