Alleged former drug kingpin paroled from prison, living in Fayette County

An alleged former drug kingpin is living in Fayette County after serving more than three decades in prison.

Ronald Whethers, who was among nine men convicted in connection to the killing of a Monessen man in 1993, was paroled March 22 from a state prison in Mercer County, according to Channel 11 News partner the Tribune-Review.

Whethers, 63, is living in Masontown, the Trib reports.

Prosecutors said Whethers was the leader of one of the largest cocaine trafficking networks on the East Coast when he was charged with ordering the beating of William Michael Lucas, who police said was killed after he was falsely accused of stealing drugs.

Then Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey underwent a transplant operation in which he received Lucas’ heart and liver.

Whethers, who was charged with homicide, pleaded no contest to third-degree murder and guilty to conspiracy charges. He was sentenced in 2001 to 15 to 30 years in prison.

Authorities said that Whethers continued to run his empire while in Westmoreland County Prison. A state grand jury investigation found evidence that jail guards helped smuggle a cellphone into the facility for him, according to the Trib, which resulted in the jail warden being fired.

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