News and Press Releases

Monroeville Man Was Part of Violent Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2013

PITTSBURGH - A Monroeville man pleaded guilty in federal court to federal firearms and drug trafficking charges, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Antonio Hardin, 32, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon.

In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that from April 2012 to February 2013, Hardin conspired together with his charged co-defendants Brandon Thompson, James Walker, Richard Wood, Gregory Harris, Jr., Luther Harper and others to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute, heroin. Those co-defendants have pleaded not guilty and the charges are still pending against them.

Specifically, the Court learned, for example, that in April, 2012, Hardin received heroin from co-conspirator Brandon Thompson. Hardin then supplied this heroin to an uncharged co- conspirator who was later shot by Thompson and Edward Cook at Club Pink in Munhall, Pa., on or about August 12, 2012. Cook has pleaded guilty to this shooting, and he was sentenced to 12-years imprisonment. The Court also learned that Hardin, acting together with Brandon Thompson, James Walker, and Joseph Thompson, shared a heroin “stash house” with them in Pitcairn, Pa., at which these persons packaged raw heroin into stamp bags that would later be sold on to other dealers, and eventually to individual users. In addition, the Court learned that Hardin, over the course of the conspiracy, sold heroin to other charged distributors, including Richard Wood, Gregory Harris, Jr., and Luther Harper. The Court heard intercepts of a call in which Luther Harper and Bryce Harper discussed purchasing 25 brick quantities (40 gram quantities) of heroin from Hardin that the Harpers then planned to distribute to individual users.

Last, Hardin acknowledged that during his drug trafficking crimes he possessed a firearm, including a 9mm Glock, to protect himself and to protect his drugs. Specifically, Hardin carried a firearm during his drug trafficking crimes. As a result, Hardin possessed a firearm in furtherance of the abovementioned drug trafficking crimes.

Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for April 30, 2013. The law provides for a total sentence of up to life in prison, a fine of up to $5,250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric S. Rosen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, McKeesport Police Department, Munhall Police Department, and the West Homestead Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Antonio Hardin.

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