PITTSBURGH, PA – A West Virginia resident has been sentenced in federal court to 120 months’ imprisonment and five years of supervised release on his conviction for violating the federal narcotics and firearms laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.
Senior United States District Judge David S. Cercone imposed the sentence on Van Gregory Barrows, 29, of Bowden, West Virginia, who pled guilty to a two-count Indictment charging him with attempted possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it, and conspiracy to do the same. He also pled guilty to a one-count Information charging him with unlawfully possessing firearms while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance.
According to information presented to the Court, on November 17, 2017, agents with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the Pennsylvania State Police executed federal search warrants at a hotel in Ross Township, PA, where they located Barrows and others. Inside of the hotel room, agents seized multiple firearms, three of which Barrows admitted to possessing. Agents seized quantities of methamphetamine and electronic devices (i.e., cell phones and computers) and drug paraphernalia used in the packaging and distribution of controlled substances. In an interview with agents, Barrows admitted to being an unlawful user of methamphetamine and to possessing three of the seized firearms. Federal law prohibits an unlawful user of a controlled substance from possessing a firearm. Barrows further admitted to agents that he purchased large quantities of methamphetamine from an online marketplace commonly known as “the dark web”. Barrows admitted that he, and others in his home state of West Virginia, distributed the methamphetamine that he purchased online, and that he was in the Pittsburgh area at that time to convert U.S. currency into cryptocurrency, which he used to purchase the methamphetamine. Barrows further advised agents that one such order was being delivered to the Ross Township hotel. Agents interdicted that parcel and found it to contain approximately eight ounces of “pure” methamphetamine, which is a scheduled controlled substance. Evidence seized from Barrows electronic devices further evidenced his involvement in the online drug purchases and conspiracy.
Assistant United States Attorney Jerome A. Moschetta prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
Acting United States Attorney Kaufman commended the Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the Pennsylvania State Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Barrows.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of Pennsylvania