3 plead in pill ring

PILLS-OVERDOSE-HEALTH

Three New Castle men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a prescription drug dealing ring that transported painkillers from Florida to sell in western Pennslyvania, including the ring’s leader.

Christopher Klingensmith, 38, of Cine Street, the alleged leader of the drug dealing operation, James Cracraft, 39, of Randolph Street, and Thomas Klingensmith Jr., 30, of Bellair Drive, all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to sell drugs.

All three face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab in Pittsburgh.

Christopher Klingensmith and his brother are scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 21. Cracraft will be sentenced Oct. 15.

Investigators said Christopher Klingensmith led the 11-person drug ring. All but two have pleaded guilty in the case.

Klingensmith arranged for some 50,000 painkillers containing oxycodone to be transported in six different trips from Larry Dorsey, 34, of Jupiter, Fla. to New Castle. Dorsey was a former New Castle resident who supplied the drugs to friends and family members.

Authorities estimated the drugs have a street value of $1.25 million to $1.75 million. The cost of 30-milligram oxycodone pills sell on the street between $25 and $35 per pill, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Pittsburgh.

Witnesses told investigators they saw Christopher Klingensmith with cantaloupe-sized bags of painkillers that contained thousands of pills.

Cracraft and Thomas Klingensmith Jr. were both street dealers and Cracraft also was a “lookout” for the group, prosecutors said.

Federal agents stopped a car in North Carolina driven by David Wooley, 35, who eventually pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy in April, with Thomas Klingensmith Jr. as a passenger. Investigators found $158,000 in cash inside the car. Dorsey told Drug Enforcement Agents Christopher Klingensmith paid him $120,000 for pills earlier that day.

 

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