One of 12 people arrested last year in an alleged heroin ring will serve at least eight years in a state penitentiary.
According to Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa, Jamal Pierre Hill, 30, pleaded guilty in common pleas court Wednesday to charges of corrupt organizations, possession with intent to deliver heroin and solicitation of minors to traffic drugs. He was sentenced to serve eight to 20 years in a state penitentiary, followed by five years of state-supervised probation.
Hill, Lamancusa noted, also forfeits tens of thousands of dollars in cash, three cars, an ATV, studio recording equipment, TVs and jewelry.
Hill is the fourth member of a heroin ring allegedly led by Michael Schmidt Sr. to be sentenced. The rest are awaiting trial or sentencing.
Schmidt, Hill and 10 others were charged after a series of June 2014 arrests that followed a year-long investigation by the Lawrence County District Attorney’s special investigative unit, with help from New Castle police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The group is accused of distributing heroin in the New Castle area, generating between $3 million and $6 million in the 12 months prior to the arrests.
At the time of the arrests, Lamancusa said that the organization was “believed to be, by far, the single largest distributor of heroin in Lawrence County. At its height, the organization was averaging sales of one kilo per week.”
One kilo equals 1,000 grams, which was reported at the time of the arrests to have a street value of $100,000.
Hill’s case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Diane Shaffer.