Former leader of Westmoreland County Pagans pleads guilty to drug charges, racketeering
The man prosecutors contend was president of the Westmoreland County chapter of the Pagans Motorcycle Club will serve up to six years in prison for dealing drugs eight years ago.
Raymond “Pete” Overly, 43, formerly of Belle Vernon, was on the run for eight years before he was arrested in May in Florida.
He pleaded guilty Wednesday to racketeering and drug charges in connection with the outlaw biker club’s dealings in 2006.
“This guy was using Pagan prospects to deliver the drugs. None of those guys ever became Pagans,” said Deputy Attorney General Michael Ahwesh.
Overly was the target of a state grand jury investigation that in 2009 returned a presentment against the Pagans leader.
After a three-year undercover investigation, police contended that Overly controlled the local motorcycle gang and oversaw its distribution of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, allegedly supplied from Mexican drug dealers from Atlanta, from the early 2000s through November 2008.
Witnesses told the grand jury they attended monthly chapter meetings, which they called “going to church,” the presentment said.
They generated income for the gang by selling drugs, and stealing and rebuilding motorcycles out of Overly’s Mt. Pleasant shop. If members refused to participate in the illegal drug sales, he would order other members to beat them, according to the presentment.
Overly disappeared in November 2008 as county probation officials sought to have him sent to jail for violating terms of his prison release after a conviction in 2000 for an assault on a Rostraver couple.
According to court records, Overly served a four- to nine-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to breaking into the couple’s mobile home with a stun gun, beating the man with a metal baton, smashing the woman’s foot with his boot and threatening the couple’s three children.
While Overly was on the run, the drug and racketeering case against him lingered.
Overly was arrested on May 15 in Lake City in central Florida, about 60 miles from his home, by a highway patrolman who discovered he was wanted in Pennsylvania.
In court on Wednesday, Overly agreed to take a plea bargain in which 17 charges against him were dropped and the prosecution recommended a mitigated prison sentence.
Overly was sentenced by Westmoreland County Judge Chris Feliciani to the terms of the negotiated deal that call for a three- to six-year prison sentence and five years on probation. Overly told the judge he agreed to the deal because it was in his best interest.
Feliciani said Overly could have been sentenced up to 20 years for each offense to which he pleaded guilty.
Ahwesh said the prosecution had problems with its case against Overly.
“The events occurred eight years ago,” Ahwesh said. “Some of the witnesses changed circumstances. They are not in the best of shape, and a couple just disappeared.”
Six other club members were arrested by police after the 2009 grand jury presentment. Two were sentenced to less than two years in prison, and the other four received probation sentences, according to court records.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.