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Narcotics
01/21/2015

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Trinidadian national pleads guilty to drug trafficking, money laundering

PITTSBURGH , Pa. – A resident of Arnold and Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court late Tuesday to charges of violating federal narcotics, firearms and money laundering laws after an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and multi-agency investigation.

Omali McKay, 29, a citizen of Trinidad lawfully residing in the United States who’s now serving time in state prison for sexually assaulting a child, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others from 2006 to Aug. 25, 2012, to distribute five to 15 kilograms of cocaine and 280 to 840 grams of crack cocaine.

McKay obtained kilogram quantities of cocaine from out-of-state sources and then cooked much of that cocaine into crack. He then sold cocaine and crack in small quantities to street-level distributors and drug users to maximize his profits.

Also, McKay admitted possessing with intent to distribute one kilogram of cocaine seized from his Lower Burrell residence on Aug. 25, 2012, while simultaneously possessing an assault rifle in furtherance of the drug crime.

Search warrants were conducted Aug. 25, 2012, at both of McKay's residences. In the master bedroom closet of the Lower Burrell residence, agents discovered more than one kilogram of cocaine, an assault rifle, approximately 3,000 rounds of ammunition, two ballistic vests and $272,000 in cash hidden in a bag containing McKay's identification cards. A 2004 Mercedes Benz and a 2004 Lexus were also seized.

McKay admitted to conspiring with three others to launder his drug trafficking proceeds. He used those laundered funds to purchase the Lower Burrell residence for $243,000 in cash in August 2011.

Between May and July 2011, he repeatedly provided sums of cash to three people who then deposited it into their respective bank accounts and wrote checks back to McKay. Some of checks were written to make them appear to be payments for services rendered from McKay's non-existent lawn care business. In total, $243,500 was laundered in this manner in a little more than a month and a half.

The Mercedes Benz, the Lexus, the $272,000 in cash, and the Lower Burrell residence will be forfeited since they were proceeds of McKay’s drug trafficking.

As a result of this investigation and his arrest and incarceration, a witness contacted the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) about McKay’s involvement in the sexual assault of a minor child. The PSP investigated the allegations that led to McKay’s June 2014 conviction of the charges in state court where he was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in state prison. 

“This man committed horrid offenses against a child and was an unashamed menace in our society as a drug trafficker,” said John Kelleghan, HSI Philadelphia special agent in charge. “Due to the excellent collaboration between HSI, PSP and our law enforcement partners, we were able to bring this violent and atrocious criminal to justice.”

The federal sentencing is scheduled for May 20, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 15 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles A. Eberle is prosecuting this case on behalf of the federal government.

HSI worked on this case with the Pennsylvania State Police, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Lower Burrell Police Department.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/23/2015