The center of an alleged Blair County drug distribution ring took the stand Friday against his suspected New York supplier and testified he sold off kilos of cocaine 1 gram at a time.
Brian M. Pfister, 42, of 5511 Third Ave. testified that he bought large amounts of cocaine from Lamar D. Robinson, 28, of Staten Island, N.Y. Pfister's testimony came during Robinson's preliminary hearing at a special session at Central Court for the eight suspects arrested last week by the state and local narcotics agents.
Pfister testified he began buying cocaine in fall 2008 from Robinson, whom he met seven years ago through a friend. Pfister noted quantities were small at first, usually an ounce for $1,400, but ultimately increased to whole kilo purchases last October.
Pfister said Robinson told him his sources preferred Pfister buy whole kilos, equal to 1,000 grams each or 2.2 pounds, because "they didn't want to sell any more open packages."
According to Pfister, he paid between $40,500 and $45,000 for each of the four whole kilos of cocaine Robinson delivered to him at a Tannersville shopping outlet between October 2009 and April 16 of this year.
Pfister also said he shared with Robinson details of his Altoona cocaine business.
"Can you believe I sell this amount of cocaine in 1-gram, individual packages?" Pfister said he once asked Robinson.
Pfister's comment, taken with his earlier testimony before a statewide investigative grand jury that he added 60 grams of cutting agents to every 100 grams of cocaine he sold, indicate that Pfister stood to make up to $120,000 on each 1,000-gram kilo he bought when he sold it on the streets of Blair County, where cocaine goes for up to $100 per gram.
"That's quite unusual to sell that much in 1-gram packages," Pfister said. "That's why it took so long [to get rid of a kilo]."
Pfister also recalled that he told Robinson "a new guy" was buying larger quantities, a man he later learned was an undercover state narcotics agent after a police search of his house turned up a kilo of cocaine on March 30.
From that point on, Pfister worked with police and arranged to have narcotics agents with him when he went to Tannersville on April 16 to pick up a kilo that was owed to him by Robinson.
Agent Mark Sinisi of the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation said that state and local drug agents nabbed Robinson as he pulled out of the parking lot of the shopping center in his 2007 BMW, minutes after he allegedly slid a shopping bag of cocaine to Pfister between restroom stalls.
Magisterial District Judge Todd F. Kelly found enough evidence of four counts each of cocaine delivery and criminal use of a communications facility, two counts of corrupt organization and one count each of criminal conspiracy and dealing in the proceeds of illegal activity to send the case to Blair County Court.
Kelly also raised bail for Robinson, jailed since his arrest July 28, from $100,000 to $250,000 cash, after Robinson's attorney, Bruce Johnstone, asked for a reduction.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Dave Gorman, who is prosecuting the case, said that with mandatory minimum sentences and Robinson's previous federal conviction for possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, the Staten Island man faces the possibility of at least 28 years in prison.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.