An Upper Gwynedd and former Hatfield man, described as "a victim of his own addiction," pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in Montgomery County court Monday, pegging him as one of three ringleaders in a methamphetamine ring across two counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Francesco "Frank" Messina, 43, of the 600 block of Garfield Avenue, West Point, pleaded guilty to corrupt organizations, possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and conspiracy in connection with incidents that occurred between December 2011 and March 2012, according to Carl Hessler of North Penn Life.
Messina was the primary operator of Cosmos Motors in Lansdale.
One other major target — Jeff Penna, of Hatfield — pleaded guilty to racketeering/corrupt organizations, conspiracy and manufacuture and delivery of meth in September, according to court records.
His brother, and third alleged top racketeer, David Penna, of Lansdale, remains in the trial process; no verdict has been made or prosecution imposed, according to court records.
No evidence was found of a methamphetamine manufacturing facility in the county, according to Hessler.
According to the article, Messina admitted to personally delivering more than two grams of meth to an undercover detective on two incidents.
Messina also admitted his involvement in the delivery of five grams of meth, which his alleged co-defendants are also charged with in the case, according to the article.
By pleading guilty to corrupt organizations, Messina admitted, in part:
It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity in which such person participated as a principal, to use or invest, directly or indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income, in the acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of, any enterprise (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 911)
Upon admitting delivering two grams of meth to an undercover cop, Messina now faces two, one-year mandatory sentences.
Upon admitting delivering five grams of meth, Messina faces a mandatory three-year sentence.
Messina's defense attorney Sean Cullen was quoted as such:
“I think he was a victim of his own addiction ... At some point the addiction takes over, you lose the ability to fund your own addiction, and then it becomes a matter of selling or trading in order to cover your own habit.”
“There were no extravagant lifestyles here ... It was all one course of conduct. We’re going to ask the judge for concurrent sentences.”
Sentencing is deferred until officials complete a background investigative report about Messina, according to the article.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Whalley stated Messina was one of their intended major targets in prosecution of this case.
Authorities pegged Messina and two other men, brothers David and Jeff Penna, as the major players in the methamphetamine ring.
All in all, 32 people were involved in the meth ring, authorities allege.