Braddock Woman Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking
PITTSBURGH, PA- A resident of Braddock, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of drug trafficking, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Paula Debaker, 55, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that that the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force conducted a long-term investigation of drug trafficking occurring in and around the Braddock section of Pittsburgh. In January of 2019, investigators obtained authorization to conduct a federal wire investigation, which continued through May of 2019. Intercepted communications confirmed that Debaker obtained controlled substances from one of her co-defendants, who was a member of SCO, a neighborhood street gang, and permitted that SCO member and other members of the conspiracy to use her home to cook powder cocaine into cocaine base, commonly referred to as crack.
Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for May 5, 2020 at 10:00 AM. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than five years and not more than 40 years in prison, a fine not more than $5,000,000, 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. Debaker remains on bond pending the sentencing hearing.
Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Allegheny County Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Narcotics, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. Other assisting agencies include the Monroeville Police Department, Penn Hills Police Department, Wilkinsburg Police Department, and Allegheny County Adult Probation.
The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.