A Carrolltown man at the heart of a Cambria County drug ring pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to violating federal drug laws, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said.
George M. Lowmaster, 43, of the 100 block of Himmel Street, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson to four counts.
Authorities said Lowmaster conspired to manufacture and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants from Sept. 30, 2010, to May 9, 2011.
From March 2008 to May 9, 2011, Lowmaster conspired to commit money laundering in an attempt to hide profits made by his drug organization.
He also is accused of distributing less than 500 grams of cocaine on July 23, 2008 and Aug. 21, 2010.
“Mr. Lowmaster led the largest and most extensive drug distribution organization ever dismantled in the Johnstown area,” Hickton said in a statement.
Twenty-five others also have pleaded guilty for their roles in the organization, he said.
Authorities raided the Lowmaster property in May 2011.
Investigators at the time said Lowmaster headed a multimillion dollar drug ring stretching from Cambria County to the West Coast and into Canada. The organization sold marijuana, cocaine, oxycodone and methadone.
“Mr. Lowmaster’s plea brings to completion what has been a comprehsive and lengthy prosecution,” Hickton said.
Lowmaster faces 20 years to life in prison and a fine of more than $24 million when he is sentenced on Feb. 19.
Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on twitter.com/PatBuchnowskiTD.