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Philadelphia man pleads guilty to federal drug charges

A Philadelphia man has pleaded guilty to charges he was facing for dealing drugs out a motel in Butler Township.

Zion Elam-Sturgis, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Nov. 22, in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base, in Butler, between January 2017 and June 2020; and to possessing with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base on June 2, 2020.

Elam-Sturgis and another Philadelphia man were arrested in June 2020 at Comfort Inn & Suites on Route 8 following a controlled drug purchase at the motel.

Police executed a search warrant based on the controlled buy, and recovered about 75 grams of crack cocaine, $1,642, empty capsules and other suspected drug-packaging materials, a false-bottom container, four digital scales and 9 mm pistol that was later determined to be stolen.

In addition to the drug charges, a charge of possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime was also filed against Elam-Sturgis, but that was not among the charges he pleaded guilty to. His plea agreement is sealed.

Sentencing for Elam-Sturgis is scheduled for March 21 before Judge Robert J. Colville.

The other man who was arrested, Nymeer G. Scott, is facing similar charges. His case remains pending in court.

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