PITTSBURGH, PA. – Nineteen individuals have been charged in two separate, but related, indictments with violating federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
A one-count indictment returned on June 7, 2011, and unsealed today, charges nine Allegheny County residents and one Washington County resident with drug trafficking. The indictment names:
“Prescription drug abuse is becoming the nation's fastest growing drug problem all across the United States and Pittsburgh, unfortunately is no exception. The extraordinary collaborative efforts by all the agencies involved in this case contributed to the elimination of the area's largest network and source of supply for criminally diverted pharmaceuticals that so often end up in the wrong hands and leads to tragic consequences,” said Special Agent in Charge John J. Bryfonski of the Philadelphia Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In a separate, but related, indictment, nine Allegheny County residents were charged by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh with drug trafficking. The one-count indictment, returned on June 7, 2011, and unsealed today, names:
“In this case and others, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of sophisticated criminal organizations that are involved in the illegal distribution of prescription drugs. This increase is being fueled by a strong demand for illicit oxycodone, hydrocodone and other narcotics. Many of the users of these drugs are becoming addicted and moving on to more powerful drugs like heroin, which poses a significant risk to the addict and the community in which they live,” stated Gary M. Davis, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, and head of the DEA Pittsburgh District Office.
The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Assistant United States Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton is prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government.
In separate, but related cases, the following Allegheny County residents pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone:
The Pittsburgh District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mt. Lebanon Police Department, South Park Police Department, Pleasant Hills Police Department, Bethel Park Police Department, North Versailles Police Department, Whitehall Police Department, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Probation/Parole Office, Allegheny County District Attorney's Office and the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of the defendants.