PITTSBURGH Man and sister face drug sentencing

Authorities said a former New Castle woman sold cocaine from her beauty shop.
PITTSBURGH -- Two former New Castle residents could face up to life in prison when they are sentenced May 30 in U.S. District Court for violations of federal narcotics laws.
U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said Roy Mercer, 46, formerly of New Castle, could be sentenced to 10 years to life and fined $4 million for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
Mercer's sister, Inez Mercer Lindsey, 50, formerly of Raymond Avenue, faces the same sentence as her brother for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, plus five to 40 years and a $2 million fine for conspiracy to sell crack cocaine.
Buchanan said both recently pleaded guilty to the charges.
Authorities said that between 1994 and 1999, Mercer and seven co-defendants were involved in a conspiracy to distribute more than 1,320 pounds of cocaine. Mercer's cocaine distribution ring operated in New Castle, Houston, Youngstown and Detroit. Mercer obtained his cocaine from a source in Mexico.
Sister's role
They said Lindsey served as Mercer's conduit for money and cocaine in New Castle. In addition to storing money and cocaine in her home, Lindsey also served as a courier and is responsible for distributing between 110 pounds and 330 pounds of powder cocaine, Buchanan said.
Authorities said the charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine stem from events while Lindsey was on bond after being arrested on conspiracy charges for her role in Mercer's drug ring. They said Lindsey sold about 27 grams of crack cocaine to an individual at Lindsey's beauty shop, Pamper Me Pretty Too in New Castle.
The government is seeking forfeiture of Lindsey's beauty shop and residence. Both Lindsey and Mercer are in federal custody awaiting sentencing, Buchanan said.
Buchanan said the following co-defendants in Mercer's cocaine distribution ring have previously pleaded guilty in the case: Bruce McKnight, 35, formerly of Richelieu Avenue, New Castle; Demetrius McKnight, also known as Pumpkin, 26, formerly of Florence Avenue, New Castle; Christopher D. Smith, 28, formerly of Cunningham Avenue, New Castle; LaShawna L. Smith, 30, formerly of West 105th Street, Cleveland; Terrance Tarver, 19, formerly of Thompson-Sharpsville Road, Masury; and Jada Taylor, 31 of Halco Drive, New Castle.

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