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Port Vue woman nabbed in 2015 drug sweep pleads guilty in far-reaching heroin ring case |

Port Vue woman nabbed in 2015 drug sweep pleads guilty in far-reaching heroin ring case

Natasha Lindstrom

A Port Vue woman pleaded guilty to her role in a far-reaching heroin ring that brought the illegal street drug from New Jersey to McKeesport, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Krystle Barretto , 33, was convicted of scheming to sell more than 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces, of heroin, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said.

She faces a sentence of not less than five years and up to 40 years in prison and a fine up to $5 million.

A federal wiretap investigation that intercepted at least 10 cell phones from December 2014 to April 2015 led to drug and weapons charges filed against Barretto and more than a dozen others.

The investigation “established the existence of a number of overlapping and interrelated drug distribution networks” at work in Clairton, McKeesport and Port Vue as well as areas of Washington and Westmoreland counties, Brady said.

RELATED: 13 from Western Pa. arrested in drug sweep

At least eight people charged in connection to the broader investigation have pleaded guilty. Lead defendant Jarran Bell is scheduled to go to trial on related charges in June.

As part of her guilty plea, Barretto admitted to making arrangements to transport from New Jersey enough heroin to fill 25,000 stamp bags, the small wax or paper packets used to sell heroin, typically in quantities of at least 0.1 grams, prosecutors said. Law enforcement officers seized the shipment before it reached McKeesport.

At Barretto’s Port Vue home, officials found a loaded 9mm handgun, a large money counter and five more bricks of heroin, or enough to fill about 250 small packets, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon scheduled Barretto’s sentencing for June 19.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy L. Johnston prosecuted the case with help from the federal Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Led by the FBI, the task force involved the state Attorney General’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office and police from West Mifflin, Munhall, Duquesne, Pittsburgh and Clairton.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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