The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 10, 2013

Bar owner admits guilt in drug case

JOHNSTOWN — A well-known Carrolltown bar owner and father to the alleged kingpin in a multimillion-dollar drug ring admitted Thursday he laundered illegal drug profits for three years, prosecutors said.

And with the plea, Gerald G. Lowmaster, 67, of North Main Street, could face up to 20 years behind bars for his role in what local investigators called the largest ever busted in Cambria County.

Federal prosecutors alleged Lowmaster laundered money through his family bar, Jerry’s Tavern, and allowed drug sales to occur inside, while allowing his son, George, to store drugs inside his home.

In court Thursday, Gerard Lowmaster admitted to being a conspirator in part of the drug ring by scheming to conceal drug proceeds between March 2008 and May 2011, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said.

Local, state and federal investigators busted the family ring in 2011 after a lengthy investigation into their alleged multi-state trafficking.

Dozens of accused members in the organization were arrested that year, including a handful of Lowmaster relatives, local Northern Cambria leaders and businessmen.

Federal court staff said alleged ringleader George Lowmaster is scheduled for an Oct. 18 hearing in federal court.

With the date set for a week prior to his scheduled trial, it’s an indication he may plea to charges as well.

Gerald’s wife, Marguerite “Dolly” Lowmaster, pleaded to marijuana distribution conspiracy Wednesday, a day before her husband.

Their pleas come a month or so after U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson ruled that information collected from telephone wiretaps could be used as evidence in court.

Gerald Lowmaster is scheduled for a Feb. 27 sentencing.

He remains free on bond, Hickton said.

David Hurst is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tddavidhurst.

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