Arizona man pleads guilty to drug charge in Project Parkersburg case

CHARLESTON — An Arizona man who was arrested in Project Parkersburg, a major takedown and dismantling of a multi-state drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing methamphetamine and heroin, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, United States Attorney Mike Stuart said.

Troy Pastorino, 39, pleaded before United States District Judge Irene C. Berger and was the first Project Parkersburg defendant to plead guilty, Stuart said on Wednesday.

In September, during a long-term investigation of a methamphetamine trafficking organization operating in Parkersburg, the FBI learned that a large shipment of methamphetamine was being shipped from the Phoenix, Ariz., area to Parkersburg where it was to be sold in and around Wood County, Stuart said.

On Sept. 19, FBI and drug task force agents intercepted the shipment in Dayton, Ohio, during a traffic stop of a Dodge Charger driven by Pastorino. Upon searching the trunk of the vehicle, agents seized 150 pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine, Stuart said.

At the plea hearing, Pastorino admitted that his role was to facilitate shipping the methamphetamine from Arizona.

Pastorino was charged with 16 other defendants in a two-count federal indictment in October. He faces 10 years to life in federal prison at sentencing on June 12.

Assistant United States Attorney Joshua C. Hanks is responsible for the prosecution.

Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Parkersburg Police Department, the Dayton, Ohio Police Department, and the Parkersburg Narcotics and Violent Crime Task Force. The long-term, joint investigation resulted in at least 29 individuals being charged in federal and state court, the seizure of 150 pounds of methamphetamine and four pounds of heroin.

“The people of Parkersburg deserve a city free of drug thugs and dealers. Pastorino is the first federal Project Parkersburg defendant to plead guilty,” said Stuart. “More than two dozen individuals were arrested on federal and state charges in October 2018 during the major takedown, dubbed “Project Parkersburg,” which dismantled a significant, multi-state DTO with connections to sources of supply in Mexico. There is no doubt lives have been saved as a result of our efforts.”