United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania

09/23/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/23/2021 12:38

Monessen Man Admits Receiving Cocaine Concealed in Parcels Containing Designer Boots and Sneakers

PITTSBURGH, PA- A resident of Monessen, Pennsylvania, has pleaded guilty to violating federal narcotics laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Devon White, age 48, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine before United States District Court Judge Joy Flowers Conti.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that White's cell phone contains multiple text messages between him and an individual using a specific phone number. On January 25, 2021, White and that individual exchanged text messages about two packages being sent to Western Pennsylvania - one to White's home in Monessen and the other to the home of White's son in Hazelwood. For the package being sent to White's home, the individual texted a photo of a receipt with the tracking number and instructions to track the package over the phone but not leave White's name. Two day later, the United States Postal Inspection interdicted both packages. Each package contained just under a quarter kilogram of cocaine and was addressed to the name of a fictitious person who does not live at that address. The Monessen package's cocaine was hidden in designer boots and the Hazelwood package's cocaine was hidden in sneakers. Postal Inspectors installed electronic monitoring devices in the Monessen package and replaced the drugs with a sham substance.

On January 28, 2021, the Monessen package was delivered to the front porch of White's home in Monessen, he picked it up, and brought it into his home. He then opened the package, found the designer boots, found the sham drugs, and saw the electronic devices that had been installed by Inspectors. He took a photo of one of the devices and texted it to the individual's cell phone. White also broke one of the electronic devices. White then wrote "return to sender" on the package, put the boots and sham back inside, sealed the package, and took it back to the porch with the electronic devices in his hand. When White exited his home, he encountered law enforcement personnel who were approaching the home to execute an anticipatory search warrant. They ultimately went back into the home with White, read him his Miranda rights, and he waived those rights in writing. White admitted that he knew this package was sent to his home and would contain the designer boots with approximately nine ounces of cocaine, which is just over a quarter kilogram. He also admitted that he knew the Hazelwood package would contain approximately nine ounces of cocaine.

Judge Conti scheduled sentencing for January 13, 2022 at 11:00 am. The law provides for a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a fine up to $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the Court continued White's release on $10,000 unsecured bond and other conditions.

Assistant United States Attorney Ira M. Karoll is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Devon White.