News and Press Releases

Homestead Heroin-Trafficking Ring Dismantled

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2013

PITTSBURGH - After a nearly year-long federal, state and local law enforcement investigation into drug trafficking and violence in Homestead, Pa., 34 residents of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of violating federal narcotics and firearms laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today. These charges were contained in six related indictments, returned on March 6 and unsealed today.

"These prosecutions are a continuation of our community impact prosecution strategy where we are going community to community to aggressively eliminate violent criminals," said U.S. Attorney Hickton. "But every day we are also working with committed public-spirited citizens to increase opportunities for our youth; to replace despair with hope; and to give kids at risk and reformed offenders a fair shot to be productive citizens because we know that to best protect the public welfare, we need to work equally hard to prosecute and prevent crime.

"This investigation was a response to the increased violence and incidence of drug trafficking in the Homestead, Pa. area, much of which was attributed to a gang, or criminal enterprise, known as the Uptown Crew," said Gary Douglas Perdue, Special Agent in Charge of the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI. "These indictments are a clear example of the determination and collaborative spirit among area law enforcement agencies to dismantle criminal enterprises that pose the most significant threat."

THE INDICTMENTS

The first indictment, containing seven counts, named:

  • Brandon Thompson, 30, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Antonio Hardin, 32, of Monroeville, Pa.;
  • James Walker, 44, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Joseph Thompson, II, 25, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Richard Wood, 33, of Swissvale, Pa.;
  • Gregory Harris, Jr., 24, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Luther Harper, 27, of Homestead, Pa.; and
  • Edward Cook, 25, of Homestead, Pa.

According to the indictment, from in and around April 2012 to in and around February 2013, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Brandon Thompson, Hardin, Walker, Joseph Thompson, II, Wood, Harris and Harper conspired together and with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance. The indictment also charges that on or about Aug. 12, 2012, Brandon Thompson and Edward Cook used, carried, possessed in furtherance of, brandished and discharged firearms during and in relation to that heroin trafficking conspiracy. The indictment further charges Antonio Hardin with, on or about Feb. 11, 2013, possessing with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Last, on or about Jan. 26, 2013, the indictment charges Richard Wood with possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, and charges Walker and Hardin with distribution and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.

The second indictment, containing one count, named:

  • Troy Anderson, 24, of Braddock, Pa.;
  • Mark Felder, 25, of Duquesne, Pa.; and
  • Dorianne Harris, 20, of Wilkinsburg, Pa.

According to the indictment, from in an around May 2012, and continuing thereafter to in and around February 2013, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Troy Anderson, Mark Felder and Dorianne Harris conspired with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance.

The third indictment, containing two counts, named:

  • Andre Corbett, 20, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Sterling Marshall, 18, of Munhall, Pa.;
  • Tireal Wheeler, 19, of Homestead, Pa.; and
  • Jordan Murphy, 21, of Homestead, Pa.

According to the indictment, from in an around May 2012, and continuing thereafter to in and around February 2013, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Andre Corbett, Sterling Marshall, Tireal Wheeler and Jordan Murphy, conspired together and with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance. Additionally, the indictment charged that, during that same time period, those same defendants did knowingly conspire to employ and hire persons under 18 years of age to distribute heroin.

The fourth indictment, containing five counts, named:

  • Jay Germany, 22, of Pittsburgh, Pa.;
  • Brady Hall, 19, of Pittsburgh, Pa.;
  • Jaquan Washington, 23, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Hector Guadalupe, Jr., 36, of Brooklyn, NY;
  • Santino Drew, 34, of New Brunswick, NJ;
  • Thomas Martinez, 34, of Edison, NJ; and
  • Louis Spinnenweber, Jr., 34, of Canonsburg, Pa.

According to the indictment, from in an around May 2012, and continuing thereafter to in and around February 2013, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Jay Germany, Brady Hall, Jaquan Washington, Hector Guadalupe, Jr., Santino Drew and Thomas Martinez conspired together and with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance. The indictment further charged that, during that same time period, Germany, Hall and Washington did knowingly conspire to employ and hire persons under 18 years of age to distribute heroin. Additionally, on or about Jan. 30, 2013 and Jan. 31, 2013, Drew and Martinez possessed with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Also, on or about Nov. 21, 2012, Louis Spinnenweber, Jr., possessed with the intent to distribute a quantity of a heroin. Last, on or about Oct. 30, 2013, Germany and Hall possessed with the intent to distribute and did distribute a quantity of heroin.

The fifth indictment, containing three counts, named:

  • Bryce Harper, 26, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Diamantia Serrano, 19, of McKeesport, Pa.;
  • Lacie Harper, 24, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Ryan Harper, 36, of Munhall, Pa.;
  • Jamar Harper, 32, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Ronnell Robinson, 19, of Duquesne, Pa.; and
  • Seth Lindsey, 18, of Duquesne, Pa.

According to the indictment, from in an around July 2012, and continuing thereafter to in and around February 2013, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Bryce Harper, Diamantia Serrano, Lacie Harper, Ryan Harper, Jamar Harper, Ronnell Robinson and Seth Lindsey conspired together and with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance. The indictment further charged that, during that same time period, those same defendants did knowingly conspire to employ and hire persons under 18 years of age to distribute heroin. Last, the indictment charges that on or about Sept. 19, 2012, Bryce, Ryan, and Jamar Harper, together with Diamantia Serrano, did possess with the intent to distribute less than 100 grams of heroin.

The sixth indictment, containing four counts, named:

  • Thomas Hopes, 21, of Pittsburgh, Pa.;
  • Keith Harris, 22, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Anthony Smith, 21, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Hakeem Kirby, 19, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • William McDonald, 68, of Homestead, Pa.;
  • Ronnell Robinson, 19, of Duquesne, Pa.;
  • Gregory Harris, Jr., 24, of Homestead, Pa.; and
  • Sterling Marshall, 18, of Munhall, Pa.

According to the indictment, from in an around May 2012, and continuing thereafter to in and around February 2013, in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Thomas Hopes, Keith Harris, Anthony Smith, Hakeem Kirby and William McDonald conspired together and with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance. The indictment further charged that, during that same time period, those same defendants did knowingly conspire to employ and hire persons under 18 years of age to distribute heroin. The indictment also charges that on or about Dec. 18, 2012, Hopes and Kirby possessed with the intent to distribute and did distribute a quantity of heroin. Last, the indictment charges that on or about Jan. 3, 2013, Robinson, Keith and Gregory Harris, Marshall, and Hopes used, carried, possessed in furtherance of, brandished and discharged firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and a crime of violence.

THE PENALTIES

On the conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin count, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $10,000,000, or both, for a first-time drug trafficking conviction. For those with one prior felony drug trafficking conviction, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 20 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $20,000,000 or both, and for those with two prior felony drug trafficking convictions, the law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.

On the firearms' counts charging possession, use, brandishing or discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime, the law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years if the gun is possessed in furtherance of the crime, seven years if the gun is brandished in furtherance of the crime, and 10 years if the gun is discharged in furtherance of the crime. These sentences, by law, must run consecutively to any sentence imposed for the narcotics counts. In addition, the law imposes a fine of up to $250,000.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the 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, Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, Allegheny County Police Department, Munhall Police Department, West Homestead Police Department and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of these individuals.

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