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Penn Hills man faces additional charges in alleged drug-trafficking ring

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Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, 10:04 a.m.

A superseding federal indictment has tacked on additional money laundering and weapons counts for a Penn Hills man and nine others charged in an alleged drug-trafficking scheme, U.S. Justice Department officials announced on Friday.

The four-count superseding indictment named, among otheres, John Saban, 51, of Penn Hills.

Saban and other defendants, both from the Pittsburgh area and from Georgia, are charged with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms of cocaine. Saban is accused of conspiring to help launder the proceeds.

Investigators assigned to an interagency task force in Los Angeles intercepted Saban on July 14, 2011, when he showed up at a Federal Express facility in Van Nuys, Calif., to pick up a package containing about $32,000, according to an affidavit by DEA Special Agent Kevin Black.

Saban told investigators that the money was to hire entertainers for Pittsburgh area clubs, but he couldn't provide them with the names of any clubs, the affidavit said. A subsequent search of Saban's 2011 Ford Explorer turned up another $252,000, according to the affidavit.

From further intercepted packages and phone taps, the investigators determined that Saban was running a cocaine trafficking ring that used Federal Express and UPS to bring in cocaine from Las Vegas, the affidavit says.

The superseding indictment alleges that on or about March 16, 2012, Saban carried a firearm during and in relation to drug-trafficking crime. Saban faces the possibility of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine, or both.

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