Former Beaver Falls coach sentenced for his role in drug ring
A former Beaver County high school coach who dedicated much of his time to help kids deserves leniency for his drug dealing convictions, though not much, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch sentenced Carlos “Los” Cleckley, 36, of Beaver Falls to 5 years, 10 months in prison and five years of probation.
Cleckley pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to distribute 5 to 15 kilograms of cocaine and to selling 28 grams of crack.
Cleckley on Thursday again admitted his guilt and apologized.
“I just humbly hope I can move forward — take this situation and try to better myself,” the former Beaver Falls High School coach said.
His lawyer, J. Kerrington Lewis, argued that Bloch should give Cleckley a shorter sentence because of his work with kids, his limited criminal history and the small amount of money he made from participating in the Texas-to-Western Pennsylvania cocaine ring.
“Most of the money he got from his criminal conduct he gave to his family and others in need,” Lewis said.
Bloch said Cleckley's financial gain, a prior conviction for drunken-driving and most of the other factors Lewis mentioned were factored into the federal sentencing guidelines that recommend a prison sentence of 5 years, 10 months to 6 years, 10 months.
His work with children warranted a lesser sentence, but Bloch noted: “While his work with children is admirable, the fact that he sold cocaine while working with them is not.”
The school district removed Cleckley as coach and banned him from school property when police told school officials about his arrest.
The drug ring was the primary supplier of cocaine for Beaver County from 2009 until agents broke it up in 2011, prosecutors said. Its final shipment, which police intercepted, included 16 kilograms of cocaine and $669,000, prosecutors said.
Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- First Niagara to cut 200 jobs; Pittsburgh impact unclear
- Rossi: Brawl for ADs between Pitt and WVU
- Steelers must be creative in providing snaps for linebackers
- Fall from Hazelwood roof kills man
- Veteran tight end Miller’s blocking skill crucial to success to Steelers running game
- FBI blames North Korea for Sony hack
- Penguins’ Maatta tests positive for mumps; Bortuzzo, Greiss negative
- Time is of essence for Pitt in finding football coach, athletic director
- Analysis: Misunderstood Chryst served Pitt well
- Sandusky won’t get his pension back
- Toys for Tots fails to deliver; local charities scramble