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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 20, 2017

19 Charged with Federal Drug Offenses

PITTSBURGH – Nineteen Western Pennsylvania residents have been charged with violations of the federal narcotics laws in three separate, but related, indictments returned on July 11, 2017 and unsealed today, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced.

“Through this prosecution, we are identifying and holding accountable individuals responsible for distributing fentanyl and carfentanil, two particularly deadly controlled substances,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Song. “These dangerous, powerful narcotics are being mixed with heroin to increase potency and profit, often with deadly consequences.”

“These arrests were the result of a year-long investigation conducted by the FBI's Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force targeting a large-scale drug trafficking organization with roots in Butler, Beaver and Allegheny Counties,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Johnson of the FBI's Pittsburgh Field Office. “Federal penalties for drug trafficking are severe, and the FBI will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to stop the flow illegal drugs and to dismantle the violent criminal enterprises that facilitate the flow, as we have done here today. We are extremely grateful to our law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly with us throughout this investigation and who are equally committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

An eight-count indictment named:

  • Shawn Hendrix, 41, of Cranberry Township, PA;
  • Nikia Perkins, 42, of Monaca, PA;
  • Adrian Jordan, 27, of Braddock, PA;
  • Leroy George, 48, of Johnstown, PA;
  • Khalifa Cochran, 47, of Pittsburgh, PA;
  • Lawrence Devenshire, 49, of Aliquippa, PA;
  • Thomas Hannon, 35, of Aliquippa, PA;
  • Rance Vaughn, 21, of Beaver Falls, PA;
  • Aleece Bowser, 31, of Monaca, PA;
  • Ashley Miller, 32, of Aliquippa, PA;
  • Carlisha Williams, 27, of Aliquippa, PA; and,
  • Sheila Alford, 60, of Aliquippa, PA.


According to the Indictment, from in and around September 2016, continuing until in and around July 2017, the defendants conspired to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and a quantity of heroin. In addition, on various dates during the course of the conspiracy, defendants Shawn Hendrix, Nikia Perkins, Adrian Jordan, Khalifa Cochran, Aleece Bowser, Ashley Miller, Carlisha Williams, and Sheila Alford are charged with the crimes of possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl or carfentanil, and/or attempts to possess with the intent to distribute fentanyl.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 10 and years up to life in prison, a fine of $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

A three-count indictment named:

  • Matthew Smith, 51, of Ambridge, PA;
  • Che Turner, 38, of Aliquippa, PA;
  • Timothy Protho, 41, of Monaca, PA;
  • Eric Cansler, 46, of Wilkinsburg, PA;
  • Rickee Dawkins, 50, of Aliquippa, PA; and
  • Donte Williams, 44, of Aliquippa, PA.


According to the Indictment, from March 2017 to May 2017, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Smith, Turner, Protho, Cansler, and Dawkins conspired to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine. Smith is also charged with possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base on May 3, 2017. Williams is charged with possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base on April 8, 2017.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 5 years and up to 40 years in prison, a fine of $5,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

A four-count indictment charged Ahmad Flannigan, 26, of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, with violating federal controlled substances and firearms laws.

According to the Indictment, on or about June 2, 2017, Flannigan, a convicted felon, was in possession of firearms and ammunition. Federal law prohibits an individual who has been convicted of a felony from possessing a firearm or ammunition. The Indictment also charges Flannigan with possessing two of these firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Further, the Indictment charges that on or about June 2, 2017, Flannigan possessed with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine.

For the controlled substances charges, federal law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than five years and up to 40 years in prison, a fine of $5,000,000, or both. For the felon in possession charge, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. For the possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime charge, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 5 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Caitlin A. Loughran is prosecuting these cases on behalf of the government.

Operation NightStalker is a 12-month investigation by the FBI Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force (GPSSTF), which targeted a large scale Drug Trafficking Organization operating in Butler, Beaver and Allegheny Counties. The GPSSTF is comprised of dedicated law enforcement professionals from the Wilkinsburg Police Department, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigations, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Allegheny County Police Department, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the FBI. The GPSSTF and the United Sates Attorney’s Office, Western District of Pennsylvania, would like to recognize the significant contributions made to this investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police, United Sates Postal Inspection Service, Cranberry Township Police Department and the New Brighton Police Department.

An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated July 27, 2017