PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A former resident of the Dominican Republic pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday, July 27, 2020, to violations of the federal narcotics and immigration laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Eduard Guzman Rijo, age 49, formerly of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, pleaded guilty before Senior United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to Count One of an Indictment charging him with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of fentanyl; and to a one-count Information charging him with illegally re-entering the United States after removal.
In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that on January 30, 2019, investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Pennsylvania State Police Drug Law Enforcement Division executed a search warrant at an apartment located in Pittsburgh, which was utilized by Rijo and his coconspirators, Brandon Winters and Erick Martinez. Upon entry into the apartment, case agents located Rijo, Winters, and Martinez, approximately 1,500 “bricks” (the equivalent of roughly 75,000 individual dosage units) containing mixtures of heroin and fentanyl. Additionally, case agents seized over $250,000 in U.S. Currency, which was found in and around Mr. Rijo and his coconspirators. The Court was further advised that Rijo, an alien from the Dominican Republic, was previously deported from the United States in 1993, 2003, and 2018, and that he subsequently re-entered the United States prior to his apprehension on January 30, 2019, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, without authorization from the appropriate government officials.
Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for Nov. 24, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 10 years up to life in prison, a fine not to exceed $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 United States Attorneys Jerome A. Moschetta and Tonya Sulia Goodman are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Rijo.